Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst are not going to sign Gov. Rick Perry’s shameful compact. Here’s what Straus said.
“We welcome the input of the executive but the legislature needs to assert itself from time to time as well,” Straus, a San Antonio Republican. “…Every member has to decide on their own whether they sign pledges or not. Many of the members have signed pledges. I don’t, but that an individual decision. I also believe that it’s important that we remember the separation of powers, and remember some of the lessons that we all learned or should have learned in civics class.
In a statement just released — a full day after Perry’s big announcement — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said: “Gov. Perry and I have worked closely over the last nine years to limit the size of government and balance the budget without raising taxes on Texas taxpayers. The budget objectives proposed by Gov. Perry will reinforce the fiscally conservative principles that Republicans lawmakers have used, and will continue to use, to control spending and keep Texas’ budget balanced long into the future.”
It’s key to point out that while Straus and Dewhurst won’t sign Perry’s phony pledge, neither one of them disagrees with him , or looks likely to change the austerity policies of the GOP in Texas. In other words, we have bunch of Republicans running our state government, and all they’re really fighting over is how fast we should defund essential government services – public education, health care, along with care for the elderly and the disabled, to name a few. Straus and Dewhurst want to do it a little slower than Perry, that’s all.
Another take on Perry’s compact, Pandering his way into a historical footnote.
Perry has been in public office for most of his adult life and most of that time has been living full time off the taxpayers. By sheer longevity, political bullying and large special-interest campaign donors, he has turned a traditionally weak governor’s office into a force to be reckoned with. But he doesn’t govern. He panders, and he panders to the anti-government ideologues who supposedly dislike what he embodies, a double-dipping, lobby-fed career politician with taxpayer-paid perks running out his ears.
Remember, Perry is pulling down both his $150,000 state salary and early retirement benefits worth another $90,000-plus a year. He lives in a rental mansion that costs taxpayers about $10,000 a month, and his recent, in-over-his-head presidential campaign cost at least $2.8 million in personal security costs for which the governor refuses to reimburse taxpayers.
Yet, there he was again yesterday, laying out a new “Texas Budget Compact,” an anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-public education, anti-public health care, anti-progress manifesto that he is urging legislators and legislative candidates to sign. It is the last thing the governor of Texas should be proposing on the heels of last year’s budget cuts and in the face of an improving state economy. Perry’s compact is reckless and harmful public policy, and it’s not good business for our economy either. But then, this is the same governor who orchestrated the budget cuts, while leaving more than $7 billion of taxpayers’ money in the Rainy Day Fund untouched.
Perry continues to pander, and, unfortunately, so will some lawmakers and candidates who will fall all over themselves to sign the worthless document. Texans deserve better, much better.