Insert pithy quote about reaping and sowing here.
Gov. Rick Perry shot back Monday at conservative critics who say the state budget is growing too fast, offering the clearest signal yet that he plans to sign the two-year, $197 billion appropriations bill into law.
The governor noted that he is still analyzing the legislation and wouldn’t commit to officially approving it, but he said the Legislature is meeting the challenges of a growing state in a fiscally responsible way.
“I did read some of the criticism, and I’m not sure that those who were making that criticism have a really good handle on the Texas budgeting process,” Perry told reporters. “Frankly I don’t understand their math.”
The budget plan, which passed a Legislature firmly in the hands of the GOP, has drawn fire from conservative voices in recent days. The director of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, former state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, called the budget “an unwelcome departure from the guiding principles of fiscal responsibility.”
And The Wall Street Journal, in a weekend editorial titled “Texas Goes Sacramento,” called the budget reckless and urged Perry to veto most or all of it — or risk being compared to profligate California and Washington, D.C. Perry has line-item veto authority, so he still has time to pare down the spending before his weekend deadline to sign or reject legislation.
“Now Austin is borrowing from Washington’s playbook as the Lone Star State embarks on its biggest spending spree in memory,” the newspaper said.
Perry said detractors should not be counting the supplemental spending bill as part of the budgetary growth, because that legislation paid for billions of dollars in health care costs that had not been taken care of in the 2011 session.
Several Texas Republicans also defend one-time expenditures from the Rainy Day Fund. Legislators voted to take $4 billion from the account, largely to pay for water infrastructure upgrades and to phase out accounting tricks used in previous budgets.
“This state is growing and we’re growing fast, and we’re putting great pressure on infrastructure, both transportation, water, schools, and we have been meeting that challenge rather well,” Perry said.
The anti-spending zealots don’t care what the spending is on. There is only one budget category as far as they’re concerned, and that category is Spending. They want less of it, full stop. Rick Perry is well aware of this, and has freely used that language when the purpose has suited him. The fact that he is now at cross purposes with these marauders just shows how far out they are.
Also outraged, and with much greater justification since they did much of the heavy lifting, were Rep. Jim Pitts and Sen. Tommy Williams, the chairs of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees. I love this bit:
Williams said he and House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, sent a letter to the Journal disputing the facts behind the paper’s editorial. The Journal is expected to publish the letter in the coming days, according to Williams’ spokesman, Gary Scharrer.
The editorial claimed lawmakers increased spending 26 percent from the previous session, citing figures from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an influential conservative group. Lawmakers have described TPPF’s figures as misleading and manipulative.
“I’ve got a bellyful of people that are using their organization to criticize the work that we do here so they can raise money to pay their own salaries,” Williams said, referring to TPPF.
According to the nonpartisan Legislative Budget Board, lawmakers approved a two-year budget that increases total spending by $7 billion, or 3.7 percent. State spending would increase $7.2 billion, or 8.3 percent.
Yes, the TPPF are a bunch of lying hacks – film at 11. Williams’ zinger is dead on. There’s no other organization in the state that funnels so much money to so many people with so little talent and so few useful skills. (Marc Levin, who does criminal justice policy for the TPPF, is an honorable exception.) You have to wonder how many of them could survive in the real world.
And then there’s this:
“We stand by our numbers, and are happy to explain them in-depth to anyone who wishes,” TPPF spokesman Joshua Treviño said Wednesday.
Anyway. It’s hilarious seeing Perry getting slapped by these clowns, who are usually his bros – it’s basically the wingnut version of “Heathers”. It’s just a shame anyone takes them seriously in the first place. Texas Politics and EoW have more.