Because I care about Texas, and you, I watched and listened to this interview featuring Rick Perry talking about his belief that a projected $10-11B (that billion with a B, and that is Perry’s estimate, considered to be low) is a “workable shortfall” in our state budget and that Bill White should run for comptroller, not governor:
I listened twice, in fact, to be sure I heard what I thought I heard. Here are a few things he says:
” As the chief executive of this state, of course I take the budget seriously. What I don’t do is wring my hands and … uh .. squall [sic] to the top of my lungs that, uh, we’re gonna have to go raise a personal income tax or that we’re gonna have to raise people’s taxes to keep government at certain level [sic], because I don’t believe that.”
Perry does stipulate that the state constitution requires a balanced budget, and he sees that happening in one of two ways:
“Your choices are pretty simple. Are you going to reduce spending, or are you going to raise taxes? We’re going to reduce spending, if I’m the governor.”
The reporter goes on to ask him about the projected shortfall, noting that Perry’s estimate is half of what some others are saying it will be.
“The idea that everyone is trying to pinpoint, uh, five months away, six months away from when that budget will be written exactly what the resources is [sic] I think is a, uh, uh, I think it’s an exercise in, uh, that’s not particularly productive.
We have a comptroller, you know. If, if Bill White, all he wants to talk about is ‘the budget is this,’ he should have run for comptroller. The governor is about making executive decisions, about working with the members of the legislature.”
So, if I understand Perry correctly: comptroller = squalling [sic] about the budget, governor = making executive decisions & working with the lege. And, planning now for a shortfall we know will happen later isn’t productive.
Another interesting point the governor makes:
“I do not buy into the premise that you cannot reduce the spending and continue to have a state that functions.”
Which, if I understand Perry correctly, means that Perry does not buy into the premise of California.
I hope that makes everyone in Sacramento feel better.
Near the end of the interview, Perry says this:
“There is an ongoing dialogue about the budget. It’s always the most important thing we do. [emphasis added] I think there was a former lieutenant governor, the name slips my mind now, who once said that ‘after the appropriating of the money, everything else is just poetry.’ It’s the most important thing we do every session, whether you’re in a budget surplus position, or not.”
So, I’m left to wonder this: is Rick Perry a poet and we didn’t even know it? Should he be running for comptroller? Poet-in-Chief? Should we tell Karla Morton that Rick Perry is out for her job?
And, perhaps most importantly, is the budget the most important thing Rick Perry does, or is the budget the comptroller’s job? If he can’t even keep it straight for 10 minutes, should he have either job?