Perry’s Corporate Welfare Shenanigans

Governors and mayors love to win a prize in a game called “Corporate Welfare Roulette.”

It’s a sort of casino game–politicos throw wads of taxpayer cash at a corporation as an “incentive” for it to move to their states and create jobs. When they “win” one of these bets, the politicos convene a media event to praise themselves for their job-creation prowess.

Governors and mayors hate it when their prize reneges and fails to deliver the number of jobs promised. Bad politics.

Gov. Rick Perry has come up with a slick trick to fix this problem: When one of his corporate welfare deals doesn’t succeed, he redefines success.

A watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice, documented that many of Perry’s corporate giveaways have failed to produce the job numbers required to get taxpayer money–and others will come up short in the reports they’ll file this year. So without consulting other state officials or whispering a word to the public, Perry has been “amending” the terms of the deals.

Such corporate slackers as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc. have been allowed to create far fewer jobs than promised, count part-time jobs as full-time, and even been OK’ed to use foreign workers rather than Texans to meet quotas. Once his secret “fix” was about to be exposed by the watchdog, Perry rushed out a statement insisting nothing was amiss. “These contract amendments,” he lamely declared, “will refresh and reinforce the ongoing relationship between the [taxpayers] and these private sector partners.”

Refresh? What happened to “a deal is a deal?” How oily is that? To see the full report on this scam, go to

Find more information on Jim Hightower’s work—and subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown—at

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