Someone managed to catch Rick Perry during the few minutes he was in the office this week to ask about about having a special session to appropriate some of the extra Rainy Day funds to mitigate the cuts to public education. His answer was exactly what you’d expect.
Perry said Tuesday that Texas is spending plenty on public education.
“We’re still spending approximately $10,000 per student in Texas, and I will suggest to you the issue is not ‘are we spending enough money?’ The issue is, ‘are we spending enough money in the right places; are we getting a good return on our investment? ‘” Perry said in an interview with the American-Statesman.
The state is sitting on $1.1 billion in unanticipated revenue, as well as $6.1 billion in the rainy day fund. Democrats say some of that money should be used to avoid the second year of budget reductions.
“We made those cuts on the belief that the money was not available … and our kids have paid the price for it,” state Rep. Sylvester Turner , D-Houston, said during an Appropriations Committee hearing Tuesday. It was the first meeting of the budget-writing committee since the 2011 legislative session.
But there is no appetite among Republicans “to go back in and undo what we did in the session,” said Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts , R-Waxahachie . The GOP controls both chambers of the Legislature.
Seriously, what did you expect? This was what they wanted to do. Why would Perry and the Republicans want to undo what they wanted to do in the first place? They like what they did so much they may go back and do some more of it:
Last year, lawmakers across the ideological spectrum openly acknowledged that they would need to use the rainy day fund in 2013 to cover the Medicaid cost. But on Tuesday, Pitts raised the specter that support for using the reserve fund has possibly dwindled.
Under federal law, Texas has no choice but to pay the $3.9 billion Medicaid bill. To do so without the rainy day fund, the state would need to start cutting expenses elsewhere this year, Pitts said.
Those cuts would be on top of the $17.6 billion in spending reductions that were enacted last year as part of the two-year, $173 billion state budget.
Remember, that’s with $7.3 billion currently in the Rainy Day Fund, and more likely to come in as the economy improves. This is what they do. You want something different, you need a different Legislature.
By the way, Perry’s claim that we spend $10,000 per student is a flat-out lie. Perry’s not the only one who’s been lying about how much we spend on public education. They may be proud of what they’ve done, but that doesn’t mean they want you to think too much about it. EoW has more.