Gov. Rick Perry’s illadvised foray into presidential politics (or, his “oops” campaign, if you prefer) cost Texas taxpayers $2.6 million in security costs, according to The Texas Tribune. And, in case you were wondering, the governor has no intention of repaying taxpayers for the cost.
He isn’t required to make a reimbursement because the governor gets statepaid security wherever he travels, even for political misadventures in distant states. But considering the deep budget cuts Perry and his legislative allies inflicted upon public education and other state services last year and his insistence that we Texans who are mere mortals tighten our belts during tough economic times, it would be a nice gesture.
While thousands of Texans, including laid off school employees, are struggling, Perry lives in a taxpayerpaid mansion and is doubledipping, collecting both his gubernatorial salary and retirement pay. Assuming it is legally permissible, he could even repay the taxpayers from his state political fund, which, by coincidence, had a $2.5 million balance at the end of December.
But dream on, folks. Dream about what else Texas could have done with that $2.6 million security tab. The list is potentially endless, but one worthy use immediately comes to mind. Based on the average teacher pay in Texas, it could have covered the salaries of 53 teachers for the current school year.
Progress Texas, a nonpartisan group, has launched an online petition drive demanding repayment. If you are interested, click on this link: