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State sues over education stimulus funds

So much for a peaceful resolution.

Texas went to federal court [Thursday] to pry loose $830 million in federal aid intended to help avert teacher layoffs.

The funds — Texas’ share of a $10 billion jobs package Congress approved last month — have been caught in a crossfire between Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic critics in Congress, who inserted a provision requiring Texas to promise that its share of education spending won’t be cut before 2013.

Perry says the state constitution precludes him from making such a promise. Two weeks ago, the Education Department rejected his application for the funds – enough to protect 14,500 jobs in schools statewide – saying it had to abide by the congressional mandate, which applies only to Texas.

[…]

[Rep. Lloyd] Doggett called the lawsuit an “act of political theater” and noted, tauntingly, that the state’s legal filing was far shorter than Perry’s news release about it.

He blamed the funding delay on Perry’s refusal — legally baseless, in his view — to certify that he won’t cut state funding for schools.

“The bottom line is this: Federal aid to education should actually aid education in our local Texas schools. It is almost as if the governor felt he was entitled to his own blank check federal bailout and now he has the lawsuit to prove it,” Doggett said.

Amazing the lengths Rick Perry will go to in order to get his hands on evil, filthy federal dollars when he really needs them, isn’t it? And just when Education Secretary Arne Duncan was predicting that everything would turn out all right. Can’t we all just get along? A statement from Bill White is beneath the fold.

Bill White today released the following statement in light of Rick Perry’s political circus that may cost Texas students almost $1 billion.

“For ten years, Perry’s let Texas schools fall behind, and today’s new lawsuit is another example of his failure to get results. Rick Perry’s priority is political theater and writing another chapter in his book about Washington. We need a governor who’s putting Texas students above his own political interests,” said Bill White.

To promote himself on the national stage, Rick Perry is writing a book about Washington, D.C.

Twice this year, Rick Perry created a political circus around refusing money for Texas schools, once taking Texas off the playing field for competitive grants and now engaging in partisan sparring instead of working with others to get things done.

“Just when it looked like the dollars for Texas students were headed our way and the political games were over, Perry decided he wanted to keep playing and filed another lawsuit to create a circus,” said Katy Bacon, campaign spokesperson.

Today Perry announced he is suing the federal government again, even though, as Dallas Morning News headlined this morning, “U.S. education secretary says Texas will get $830 million in stalled aid.”

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3 Comments

  1. Martin says:

    Seems to me that Perry wants the federal money without having to give anything in return. No string attached, “free money.”

    In my book, anyone who is concerned about government responsibility would WANT strings attached to federal money taken and used by the states.

  2. […] expression here is “Thank you, sir, may I please have another”. While Perry prefers money he can spend unaccountably, he’ll still take whatever he can get. Those $21 billion shortfalls aren’t going to fix […]

  3. James says:

    Wakeup – Why is Texas the only state prohibited from cutting state expenditures. The reason for the federal stimulus money was to bridge the shortfalls states are experiencing during the recession. Allowing the federal government to single out a state is bad for all states…not just Texas.