"Saddle bags" by Nick Anderson - Houston Chronicle
New assessments, obtained by The Dallas Morning News after a recent huddle of senior legislative staff members, show that even if lawmakers decide to spend all $9 billion in the state's rainy day fund, they still would need to come up with almost $12 billion more to close the gap - through some combination of spending cuts, accounting tricks and new taxes or fees.
The figures, prepared by staff at the Legislative Budget Board and then tweaked by House leadership, show the situation has deteriorated since spring.
In May, Pitts, the House's chief budget writer, drew derision from some GOP leaders when he said the shortfall could be between $15 billion and $18 billion. Perry said someone had "reached up in the air and grabbed" the figure.
The latest figures, though, show the gap as high as $20.6 billion.
Revenue is not rebounding quickly from the economic downturn, as Comptroller Susan Combs predicted it would. Population is expected to keep growing rapidly, which swells demand for education and social services, already high because of the recession.
You can watch a video clip here where Rick Perry say that "I've got a lot of confidence in this comptroller." [Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Republican Susan Combs] He goes on to say, "I don't necessarily think it's a particularly good use of the comptrollers time to do a budget estimate every time someone pokes their head up out of a hole and says 'let's do a budget estimate." It's quite obvious Rick Perry does not want his controller to release a budget report that shows a $21 billion budget deficit any time before the election, as the truth about Texas' fiscal health is clearly detrimental to Governor Perry's re-election bid.
Politifact verifies claims from Democratic opponent Bill White that our state's debt has doubled under Rick Perry. When he assumed office in December 2000, Texas held $13.7 billion in debt. Adjusting for inflation, that's today's equivalent of $16.6 billion. As of August 2009, we held $34.08 billion in debt. Rick Perry has more than doubled our state's debt, even after you adjust for inflation.
Perry also claims he's cut state spending as well, but it's actually increased 45%.
He's claimed to have vetoed $3 billion worth of spending, when, in truth, $2.5 billion of that never was passed into law anyway and would not have been spent, regardless of his 'veto'.
Despite all of the above proof that our Governor has failed miserably as a steward of our state's fiscal matters, he's running ads claiming
that, "the economic success Texas is experiencing because of the leadership and pro-growth policies put into place by Governor Rick Perry. The keys to success? Don't spend all the money. Keep taxes low. Keep regulations fair and predictable. Tort reform to prevent frivolous and junk lawsuits. Fund an accountable education system. Then get out of the way and let entrepreneurs and the private sector do what the private sector does best-- create jobs. Since 2005, Texas has created far more private-sector jobs than all over states combined."
We Texans here in Collin County know Perry's political ad claims are half-truths, slanted estimates, and flat out lies.
No wonder Gov Perry is too chicken to debate Bill White. He's tanked our state's fiscal health with one hand and written a book about what a great fiscal conservative he is with the other. In one breath he claims there is no budget crisis in Texas and then he claims Texas' has a financial crisis caused by the Obama administration.
Houstonians, who re-elected Bill White as mayor with 91% and then later, 86% of the vote, were proud to call him our mayor. It's time for Collin County to elect a Texas Governor in which we can again be proud. Visit Bill White for Texas and read about his accomplishments with the city of Houston that includes job growth and balancing budgets.