Page 18


“Texas is on the right path toward improved education, and we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.” JAN. 13, 2010, PERRY PRESS RELEASE “Texas is not globally competitive. The state faces a downward spiral in both quality of life and economic competitiveness if it fails to educate more of its growing population \(both of attainment, knowledge and skills. The rate at which educational capital is currently being developed is woefully inadequate.” REPORT BY GOY. PERRY’S SELECT COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND GLOBAL COM-PETITIVENESS, JANUARY 2009 TEXAS 81 UNINSURED CHILDREN 82 INCARCERATION RATES 844 STATE SPENDING PER PUPIL 81 AIR POLLUTION EMISSIONS THE BILL COMES DUE Next January, legislators will have more than TXDOT shortfalls to worry about. The federal stimulus money that kept Texas’ public schools and universities in operation for the past two years will have run dry by the fall of 2011. School districts will announce further teacher layoffs and steep education cuts. Legislators will be faced with anywhere from an $11 to $20 billion shortfall and an estimated $9 billion Rainy Day Fund. If previous sessions are any predictor, legislators and Perry will be looking for an easy way out. Perry has already asked state agencies to cut their budgets by 5 percent. The agencies will submit their cuts sometime this summer. “The leadership has already started suppressing the recognized need for money,” says de Luna Castro. “There are no public hearings, so no one will ever know how much funding was really needed.” And while Perry brags on his achievements, the numbers tell another story: Texas is first in the number of uninsured children in the nation, No. 1 in air pollution emissions and No. 2 in the nation in incarcera tion rates, while state spending per pupil ranks 44th. Thanks in large part to its governor’s politically motivated policy-making, Texas is in a mess of budget trouble. But as the old political adage goes, “if you’re explaining, you’re losing.” The red ink won’t be spilled till long after election day has come and gone. On the campaign trail, Perry continues to conjure a folksy world where hardwork ing families always win and the American Dream is just within grasp. All the talk about budget cuts and shortfalls is just hating on Texas. His philosophy seems to be: “Why don’t you let us get on down the road?” as he once famously told a DPS trooper after his driver was pulled over for speeding. The state’s longest-serving governor doesn’t have time for explaining. He has campaigns to win. $9 Billion Rainy Day Fund $11-$20 Billion Shortfall APRIL 30, 2010 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11