A long nap on the job

In catching up on my weekend clips, I noticed that Rick Perry, our accountability dodging governor, has been waxing colorful, although not particularly insightful, about state government’s budgetary problems.

“You’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to understand that we have a major financial crisis on our hands,” he said, as reported by The Dallas Morning News.

OK. So how does he plan to deal with it?

By “making prioritizations,” he replied.

And, by blaming President Obama. Federal spending under Obama, he said, is to blame for a looming revenue shortfall in Texas that now may have grown from $18 billion to $21 billion.

Perry didn’t explain exactly how the president is to blame. Presumably, he was talking about the rising cost of Medicaid and other federally driven programs. But those programs predate Obama (a president from Texas was in office for the previous eight years, I recall) and are only part of Texas’ budgetary picture. What about the worsening budgetary problems affecting the public schools?

Let’s see:

# Did Obama engineer that property tax reduction scheme in 2006? The one that Perry and the Legislature fell about $4.5 billion a year short of fully funding and has created a severe “structural deficit” in the state budget. No, Obama wasn’t even president then. That was a Rick Perry electionyeargimmickturneddisaster.

# Has Obama consistently refused to enact an adequate, equitable system for funding Texas schools during the almost two years he has been in the White House? That responsibility, of course, doesn’t belong to the president. It belongs to the governor and the Texas Legislature. And in 10 years in office, Gov. Perry hasn’t even tried to adequately fund the public schools.

# Under whose watch are average state expenditures on perpupil instruction an embarrassing 38th? Rick Perry’s.

# Who has been AWOL on adequate funding for higher education, passing the buck instead to students in the form of everincreasing tuition? Not Obama.

Obama, instead, recently tried to help out the governor and Texas taxpayers, signing a new federal law to allocate $830 million to Texas school districts for educators’ jobs. Who put the money in limbo because he refused to provide the necessary assurances that Texas would keep up its part of the school funding effort? None other, of course, than Rick Perry.

To paraphrase the governor, you would have to be politically blind, sound asleep – or otherwise oblivious to reality – to blame Texas’ budgetary plight on the current resident of the White House. Perry, however, finds that easier than defending his own resume.


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