Friday, October 15, 2010

Rick Perry: "How can we possibly believe him?"

A Texas tale of two governors


By Jack Linden
The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise
Copyright 2010

There are some Texans who are wondering how many governors they have. There is some concern as to whether the current governor is only one person or several.

Even though he is running for governor on the Republican ticket, he is campaigning like he is running for a national office. During the primary campaign, he lambasted his Republican opponent, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, for her big spending and following the will of the party. He chastised her for bringing federal money to Texas. Prior to the onset of the primary election campaign, he lauded the Senator for all the good that she had done.

In his current campaign, he is espousing the virtues of the Texas educational system. Last year, facing a budget deficit, he accepted over $3 billion of federal stimulus money designated for education. Did he use it for that purpose? No, he did not; instead he used the money to balance the budget. This year, he has refused federal money for education claiming that Texans know best how to educate their children.

The federal money rejected had the stipulation in the finance bill that the money was not to supplant the money from the state but rather to supplement the state education budget. By not applying for the money and signing as stipulated, he is defying all the major school districts in the state begging for more money.

The current governor talks incessantly about how well Texans look after Texans. No federal money he claims. All we need to examine is the amount of federal money that came to the state in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Federal money was used to supplement the funds expended by the state. Again, he accepted federal dollars but is still continuing to criticize the federal budget and “pork.”

Even while he is condemning “pork,” he has asked the Federal Emergency Management Administration for $7 million to give aid to 13 counties who recently suffered flood damage. Is it not logical that if he believes that Texans take care of Texans, he would use some of the “rainy day fund” that he brags about to help those poor souls?

He has certainly learned a lesson from the half-term governor of Alaska. Remember the money for the “bridge to nowhere.” She claimed she did not take the money for the bridge. She did take the same amount of money and used it for a highway. The Texas governor has learned well.

The governor talks about the need for local control and for the government to stay out of the lives of everyday citizens. How can we possibly believe him?

He is the one who was advocating government control of over 600,000 acres of Texas land for his Trans-Texas Corridor. Only after a large revolt among the people and the state legislature did he withdraw his plan. That plan also included the awarding of foreign contractors part of the income from the building and, maintenance of, and fees for the road. Is this a man who believes in getting the government off our back and keeping Texas for Texans?

There is much about this governor that we do not know. While demanding that his opponent reveal his income tax returns, he maintains a “blind trust” of his finances. We know he keeps two schedules of his daily activities, one for the Governorship and one for his personal schedule. We know he has control over two major sources of money intended to bring businesses to Texas. We do not know how those spending decisions are made.

Overall, we would like to know how many governors we have. Is there one or many? Is there one that talks about small government and another that talks about increasing the size of the governor’s office? Some of us would really like to know the answer.

Jack Linden is a retired history professor and a contributor to the Gazette Enterprise editorial page.

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