Please forgive me, folks, but I almost missed some important, positive news over the weekend. Hidden among all the dire headlines about budget cuts and looming layoffs was a moreupbeat report from Gov. Rick “tellitlikeIwantto” Perry. It seems that $18 billion state revenue shortfall that untold numbers of state employees – including educators – have been agonizing over is just a bad dream.
“I think it’s a number that somebody just reached up in the air and grabbed,” Perry said in an interview with Austin’s KVUETV late last week. In other words, House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, the first to issue the $18 billion warning, and the numbercrunchers who work for the Legislative Budget Board either can’t add or simply enjoy being alarmists.
Either that or the governor has been inhaling something funny from the highpriced air in his taxpayerfinanced fantasyland of a mansion. Surely, he isn’t deliberately trying to mislead voters into thinking – in the middle of his reelection campaign – that state government has performed well under his watch. He wouldn’t do that, now, would he?
If an $18 billion shortfall is simply a product of budgetwriters’ imaginations, what about all those deep spending cuts that the governor and legislative leaders already have ordered?
Unfortunately, they are reallife nightmares, both for state workers who will be losing their jobs and Texans who need the services.
“Fill that budget gap, if there is one – which we suspect there will be – with the appropriate reductions in spending, without raising taxes,” Perry said.
Life is so simple and easy when viewed from the mountaintop.
Here is a newspaper story about the interview: