Letting political fantasy trump reality

It’s easier to be governor of Texas when your mind isn’t bothered by unhappy, negative facts. I am not saying that Rick Perry is a blank slate, but he certainly continues to give every indication of being in denial about the seriousness of the state’s budgetary crisis. Either that, or he is simply being callous.

The latest public episode occurred yesterday when Perry was questioned by a reporter about the Legislative Budget Board’s determination that the horribly deficient budget recently passed by the Texas House could cost Texas as many as 335,000 jobs, including 146,000 in the private sector, by 2013.

This is the same budget plan that slashes $7.8 billion from public education, so thousands of those lost jobs would be in the public schools.

The LBB staff that prepared the report is a highly professional group of numbers experts employed by the Legislature to assist with budgetwriting. They are wellrespected by everyone around the Capitol except those more interested in political perceptions than reality.

Perry, according to Quorum Report, called the LBB’s projections of job losses a “bunch of bunk.”

The governor’s reaction probably shouldn’t have come as any surprise, since he is 110 percent politically motivated and is insisting that the Legislature fill a huge budgetary hole without raising taxes or even spending much of the Rainy Day Fund. Without those alternatives, you get the crippling budget cuts passed by the House.

It also isn’t the first time the governor has expressed insensitivity toward the plight of the tens of thousands of Texans who would be harmed by cuts to public education, health care and other critical state needs.

Perry’s comment was made shortly before he was to meet with legislators from California, who were in Austin to determine why their state has been losing jobs to Texas. If anything resembling the House budget plan becomes law, California soon will get all those jobs back from Texas – and many more.

When you are working with facts, as the LBB does, you report them. When you are playing with political fantasy, you respond with outrageous, unsupported statements.


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