Rick Perry's Texas Fantasyland

Rick Perry's Texas is a job-makin', low-taxin' oasis of economic growth. It's also a fantasy.

The shifting of public responsibility from state to local government also shows up in the study's rankings for total public debt per capita. If you look only at state government, Texas looks great—the next-to-lowest debt per resident in the country. But when you add local debt to that state debt, Texas falls into 15th place, among the most debt-loaded states in the union.

Taken together, the numbers fail to conform to Perry's portrayal. In job creation and economic hardiness, as a tax haven, even as a place where government is supposed to be scarce, Texas fails to fit the soundbites. Which raises another obvious question: Perry himself. If Texas is not the small-government, low-tax, bottom-up-governed oasis its governor describes, is he even that kind of leader?

The Tea Party has been lighting torches of discontent in recent weeks over Perry's support for in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants (too compassionate) and his backing of mandatory HPV vaccinations for teenage girls (too progressive). But another chapter, one too nuanced for the 24-hour news cycle, better demonstrates Perry's true style of governance: his failed attempt to create a high-tech transportation corridor across the entire state.

Announced in January 2002, the "Trans-Texas Corridor," or TTC, was to be a gigantic 1,200-foot-wide swath 4,000 miles long carrying high-speed rail, pipelines, and high-tech super toll roads from Mexico to Oklahoma. Like the higher-education "seven-points" plan, the TTC was the brainchild of a millionaire pal of Perry's, the late Ric Williamson, whom Perry had appointed chairman of the state's Transportation Commission.

The problem, according to people involved in Texas transportation and trade issues at the time, was that Perry and Williamson dropped the plan on legislators as a fait accompli without any political preparation. Then they made things worse by trying stubbornly to force it by fiat down the throats of an increasingly recalcitrant citizenry.

The TTC idea is dead now, shot many times over in the head by the legislature. After Perry unveiled the TTC in 2002, farmers, small towns, and two major cities rose up against it in horror, fueled by its threatened use of eminent domain and a backroom deal to turn the road over to a Spanish toll-road company—without a bidding process. Even worse, the preordained route would have bypassed, and probably killed, major new shipping centers in both Dallas and Fort Worth.

State senator Florence Shapiro, a Republican powerhouse, still thinks the basic concept might have had merit. She calls Williamson, who died of a heart attack four years ago, "a very, very bright man." But, she says, "the manner in which it was presented was the problem. They didn't even try to work it out. They just said, 'Here's the plan.'"

The TTC is hardly the only example of Perry's ham-fisted style of governance. After the savage bloodletting of the most recent legislative session, he poured salt in the wounds of local school districts by seeming to blame all of the unpleasantness on them: "The lieutenant governor, the speaker, their colleagues aren't going to hire or fire one teacher, as best I can tell," he told reporters at a news conference. "That is a local decision that will be made at the local districts."

Well, yes, because Perry and the legislature cut off their money.

Perry also vowed publicly that he was not forcing his "seven-points" anti-research plan on any of his many appointees to Texas university boards of regents. He said he had presented the plan to them merely to foster discussion.

"I appoint people to the board of regents," Perry said in May 2008. "They are in charge of setting policy. . . . That's their call. It's not the governor's call. It's never been the governor's call, and I don't get confused about what my role is."

But in April 2008, the Houston Chronicle published e-mails sent to regents and university chancellors by Perry aide Marisha Negovetich in which she repeatedly hectored them to get going on the governor's seven-points plan. "The Governor is anxious to put together a cohesive plan of action . . . and also learn from you what progress you have made to move these reforms forward," she wrote.

In the September 12 GOP presidential debate, Perry said he was "offended" by criticism from Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann that he "could be bought for $5,000" from Merck, maker of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine that Perry mandated by executive order in 2007 for all Texas teenage girls. Two days later, the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau laid bare a pattern of six-figure contributions by Merck to a middleman fund that has given millions to Perry.

Stanford, the campaign consultant Perry beat in 2006, agrees Perry botched the Gardasil moment, but he says it also illustrates why he might get himself elected president. The same traits that make him tone-deaf in office, Stanford says, can make him pitch-perfect on the campaign trail.

Before Perry unleashed his Gardasil order, Stanford says, "he hadn't done that hard government work that you have to do in building coalitions. He hadn't reached out to the people who already agreed with him and gotten them on board."

Stanford ticks off a roster of state and national women's organizations concerned over the link between HPV infection and cervical cancer that had been calling for universal HPV vaccination for years. "He could have, in a government way, reached out and said: 'Here is a bipartisan coalition for this idea. Let's all talk about this idea.' But, no. One day, boom, he announces it. No coalition."

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13 comments
Crazyyy_Girls_90
Crazyyy_Girls_90

@money......This is crаzy...Sistеr's girlfriеnd mаkes 73 hоurly оn the PC. Shе hаs bееn firеd frоm wоrk fоr 11 mоnths but lаst mоnth her pаychеck wаs 7756 USD just wоrking on thе PC for a fеw hоurs. Rеаd аbоut it on this wеb sitе......http://alturl.com/nguui

Mr B
Mr B

Significantly, TexASS and AlASSka are the two biggest welfare receiving states in the Union. Naturally, both are Republican.

Perry objected to President Obama's stimulus program but eagerly took a huge check from the Federal government in order to lessen the state's deficit. But anyone who knows Repukeblican politricks would not be surprised at that.

Community Organizer
Community Organizer

I find it impressive that Gov. Rick Perry can somehow convince people to get off their azz and go to work for low pay, rather than just remain at home collecting welfare at taxpayers expense.

Well Done!

Shaun Costello
Shaun Costello

PERRY AND GOP HOPEFULS CRAWL ON KNEES BEFORE RELIGIOUS FANATICS - BEGGING FOR APPROVALIt's a sad commentary to the state of our Republic, that these GOP Presidential hopefuls feel the need to come crawling before a gathering of Evangelicals in the hope of gaining approval and support. Evangelicals, most of whom seem to have one foot in a staight jacket, have taken over the selection process for the Republican Party. This is exactly the kind of political mayhem that Jefferson warned us about, and took action to prevent. The nominee of the Republican Party has to cowtow to religious fanatics in order to get nominated. The Evangelical agenda includes; the reversal of Roe v Wade, prayer in public schools, the end of stem cell research, making homosexuality a crime, and legislating a National Religion - theirs. Oh, and influencing Cabinet appointments. For Secretary of State - how about Robert Tilton, or Jimmy Swaggert, or Pat Robertson, whichever one of them isn't under current indictment for tax fraud. The clock is ticking for the Christian Storybook. Only right wing America takes them seriously. The rest of the world is laughing.Read this:http://shauncostello.wordpress...

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

I don't feel Perry will make it....from what I can tell, the GOP has two "finisher" candidates, one they want, the other the base wants. The Central Committee's man is Mitt Romney; the average GOPster seems to want Ron Paul. We will see if the "Paultards" win.

All that written, this is a good article on how much of a BS artist Rick Perry is, and how Texas is trying to catch up to California.

mrearlygold
mrearlygold

perry is just another necon scumbag.

Vote Ron Paul in 2012 or more of the same. If you like what the country has become elect another democrat or republican. If you desire real freedom and real opportunities, rally behind Ron Paul who is as close to a founding father as we're ever going to see. Time is running out!

DonnaThompson
DonnaThompson

..........I can't believe....My best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on

the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month

her check was $5487 just working on the computer for a few hours.

Read about it here CashMany.com .......

Debra2
Debra2

Well... some GENERAL comments...I didn't vote in the last general election. I decided that the American public was not voting for a president ; it was choosing a King.Barack certainly got that feeling too, given the way he has been behaving recently.In about ten years of work against the death penalty, I noticed that increasingly, the FEDERAL courts were bending farther and farther backwards to insist on STATE'S RIGHTS.After a while, the inevitable conclusion is that the union has fallen apart, is falling apart ?When you're IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, just how do you know ??I call the country "the disunited states" these days. Rick Perry is championing a bunch of disgruntled people (but shouldn't we ALL be disgruntled these days, the decadence goes far beyond American borders, you know, to touch Western civilization as a whole) who somewhat confusedly perceive that the long, slow rise of scientific rationalism that began during the Renaissance has FINALLY run out of steam, and is not FUELING our desire for hope/faith now. It has petered out.It kind of puts things into perspective when you try to remember that the U.S. was founded as a European UTOPIAN experiment. The United States was SUPPOSED to be pie in the sky. If that isn't a Messianic proposition, I don't know what is.I can forgive Rick Perry for sounding irrational these days when it is hard to know which side is up in our culture.As for the jobs... when the Industrial Revolution got revving, there were small numbers of people in England who RIGHTLY perceived that those AUTOMATIC machines would destroy work that would probably NOT BE REPLACED. They were called Luddites, and THEY started destroying the machines. They were brutally repressed.MORE JOBS for MORE PEOPLE is part of the underlying expansionist logic that fuels the consumer/industrial society.We need NEW ATTITUDES towards work, and the lack of it at the time.We need to think beyond that old Protestant work ethic that was part of our utopian identity.CAN WE DO IT ? ....

Guest
Guest

I double-posted THAT?

Alexgunther
Alexgunther

Democrats who can't find anything good about our current situation in this country have no other choice but to try and convince everyone that the presidential options for 2012 are ......gasp! Even worse! you chose Obama, he lives in a fantasy land that is drowning in more debt with less jobs than 3 years ago!

Joseph
Joseph

Refuting the economists professors claim that Texas is business friendly with uncredited statements like "Does saying that Texas is "business-friendly" mean the state is unlike the rest of the country in some significant way, something important enough to make Texas more prosperous than America? Academic studies and the testimony of people involved in shaping the state's economy say no." makes this article come off like a hit piece.

President Perry
President Perry

Texas is a fantasyland because we seceded from Heaven. We're goin' back soon as the oil runs out. @PresPerry

 
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