Although Gov. Rick Perry will be in New Hampshire tonight, bragging (again) about his alleged job creation record in Texas, a less rosy but more realistic view of his commitment to longterm economic growth was spelled out in Austin this morning with the longawaited filing of the latest school finance lawsuit.
Perry’s performance in tonight’s Republican presidential debate (this one will focus on economic issues) may help determine how much longer the candidate from Paint Creek can keep his White House fantasy alive. After struggling in previous debates and plummeting in recent presidential polls, he will take credit for recent job growth in Texas, even though there is little evidence his tightfisted, anticonsumer, antieducation, antienvironment policies had anything to do with it. In fact, the deep budget cuts he orchestrated this year have cost untold thousands of government jobs, including in the public schools, and have tarnished the socalled Texas “miracle.”
There is a lot of evidence, however, that Perry’s tightfisted, antieducation policies (he slashed more than $5 billion from public school budgets during this biennium alone) are driving Texas’ public education system into a ditch, and that evidence will be made clear as the school finance litigation progresses.
The first lawsuit was filed this morning in state district court in Austin by the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition, a nonprofit group of school districts, students, parents and businesses organized by the Equity Center. Additional lawsuits against the state’s inequitable and inadequate school funding system are expected soon. By the time all are filed, several hundred school districts may be among the plaintiffs.
The success of these lawsuits will have a much greater impact on future job creation and economic growth in Texas than anything Rick Perry and his imagepolishers can conceive.