What color is the sky on Rick Perry’s planet?
Gov. Rick Perry says that where some see an $18 billion budget gap ahead for Texas, he sees a figure plucked from the sky.
“I think it’s a number that somebody just reached up in the air and grabbed,” Perry said in a TV interview that aired late Thursday.
On Friday, Rep. Jim Pitts, the House’s top budget writer, stood by his $18 billion shortfall estimate, which he explained in detail last month while warning colleagues about painful choices they will face next session.
“The testimony of the Legislative Budget Board before the full committee reflected the $18 billion number,” said Pitts, R-Waxahachie, head of the Appropriations Committee. He referred to testimony to his panel on May 11 by assistant budget board director Wayne Pulver.
Under questioning by Pitts, Pulver said that last year, lawmakers plugged budget holes with about $12 billion of federal stimulus money and state money left unspent in 2007. Add $2.5 billion to cover inflation and population growth in the next two years, and a revenue shortage of about $3.5 billion in the current two-year cycle, and $18 billion “is a reasonable number” to forecast for the deficit, Pulver said.
So you’ve got the Legislative Budget Board and the Republican chair of the Appropriations Committee on the one hand, and Rick Perry on the other. Who do you think is more credible? Perry’s going around making wild claims about Houston, and he doesn’t even know what Texas’ financial situation is. Why does anyone believe a word he says?