Reps. Leo Berman; Wayne Christian; Rob Eissler; Dan Flynn; Kelly Hancock; Phil King; Tan Parker; and Ken Paxton
As state legislators, we are disappointed that Texas schools will miss out on $830 million in federal funding because of an overt political attempt to embarrass the Texas Legislature and the governor in the form of an amendment inserted into federal law by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. The Doggett amendment requires the State of Texas to maintain education funding at current levels for each of the next three budget years 2011, 2012 and 2013 to receive the federal dollars under the emergency school aid funding authorized by Congress last month.
The language added by Doggett required the governor to guarantee these levels of funding when he applied for the federal education aid. However, since the Legislature writes the state budget every two years, Gov. Rick Perry was unable to make that guarantee, noting that "surely Congress did not intend to require states to violate their own constitutions and statutes in order for schools to receive this money. I am sworn to uphold state laws and our constitution, which prohibit binding commitments about future budgets or funding levels."
Texas' state budget for 2012 and 2013 will be drafted and voted on by legislators when we convene in Austin in 2011. Perry clearly is unable to guarantee to the federal government that the 82nd Legislature will appropriate certain, specific levels of funding to public education in good faith because the governor does not write the state budget and, in any event, the 2012-13 state budget does not yet exist.
However, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott wrote the U.S. Department of Education confirming that Texas would be able to "legally make the assurances you are requiring" once the 2012-2013 state budget is enacted next year. Despite those facts and assurances, Texas' application for the federal funding was rejected by the U.S. Department of Education.
Doggett's amendment language imposed requirements on Texas that do not apply to other states. The other 49 states, for example, are only required to guarantee their education funding level for 2011. Singling Texas out for special (and more prohibitive) treatment does not serve the best interests of our students, teachers or schools. It is precisely this type of gross over-reach that has spurred the tea party movement and has driven congressional approval ratings close to an all-time low.
Top Republican leaders are united in their opposition to the Doggett amendment. In addition, Texas' U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn have announced their intention to file legislation overturning the amendment.
Together with our colleagues in the Legislature and Perry, we have a strong record of providing increased funding and other necessary resources to the public school system in Texas. Between 2000 and 2009, state spending on public education increased from $11 billion to $20 billion, an increase that underscores our commitment to public education. It is noteworthy that it was achieved without the federal government attempting to bribe the state to increase its public education appropriations.
The amendment language added by Doggett is just the latest in a line of federal attempts to take control of Texas' public education system. Earlier this year, and with our support, Perry rightly rejected federal "Race to the Top" funds because the Obama administration attached strings that required misguided changes to state education policy.
The U.S. Constitution does not mention education, let alone grant the federal government authority to attempt to gain influence over states' public education systems.
Indeed, even the section of U.S. code that established the U.S. Department of Education clearly states that "the establishment of the Department of Education shall not increase the authority of the Federal Government over education or diminish the responsibility for education which is reserved to the States and the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the States."
The Texas Constitution holds that "it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools."
U.S. code and the state constitution are clear: The State of Texas is responsible for its own public education system and the federal government has no basis for attempting to influence or control that system. Congress' misguided attempts to force Texas to violate its constitution to guarantee future funding, or to attach strings to federal education dollars, undermines the spirit and the letter of U.S. and state law.
HOUSTON – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 for re-election in 2010.
“Gov. Rick Perry continues to be a true friend of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341,” said Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341. “Throughout the years he has shown us commitment, trust and he has given his support by providing us the resources we need to keep Texans safe. We know Gov. Perry supports our willingness to protect our citizens, every day, in the face of danger. We are proud to endorse him for the November election.”
With over 3,800 brave and dedicated men and women, the Houston Fire Department is the 3rd largest fire department in the nation along with Local 341 being the 3rd largest Fire Fighter’s Union in the country. The Houston Fire Department serves over 617 square miles with 100 fire stations throughout the 4th largest city in the nation.
“I am honored to have the support from the brave men and women of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, who know firsthand the choices they have in this race, and am proud to have them on our team,” said Gov. Perry. “They put their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis to make sure our families and communities are safe. It is this devotion and valor that illustrates the best of what Texas has to offer.”
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Texas Motor Transportation Association (TMTA) Truck PAC for re-election in 2010.
“Gov. Perry’s clear vision and forward thinking has allowed Texas to be the most advantageous state in the nation,” said John Esparza, president and CEO of Texas Motor Transportation Association Truck PAC. The transportation infrastructure industry has flourished under his leadership and we know that because of Gov. Perry Texas will continue to grow economically.”
TMTA is a trade organization dedicated to advocating sound public policies, providing excellence in education and training, and promoting a safe, dependable and cost-effective motor transportation system to better serve the people of Texas. One out of every 14 people working in the private sector is employed in a trucking-related job, and 82 percent of Texas communities receive goods exclusively by truck.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Texas Motor Transportation Association Truck PAC and thankful for its effort to keep Texas moving forward,” said Gov. Perry. “The men and women that dedicate their lives to the trade we depend on are an essential component to our state’s economic engine. As Texas continues to grow by more than 1,000 people a day Texas Motor Transportation Association Truck PAC I remain committed to ensuring our state has what it needs to maintain a transportation infrastructure that will allow our businesses, families and economy to thrive.”
The housing crash not yet realized its full impact on budgets in the most vulnerable states. It's the banking crisis all over again – and it's time to stop ignoring it.
Meredith Whitney, the superstar analyst who famously forecast disaster for America's big banks before the credit crisis struck, is now warning about another looming threat: The wreckage from over-stretched state budgets.
Today, Whitney is releasing a 600-page report, colorfully entitled "The Tragedy of the Commons," that rates the financial condition of America's 15 largest states, measured by their GDP. Whitney claims that the study is the most comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the states' murky patterns of spending, revenues and benefits programs ever assembled by the government, foundations, or another research firm.
What Whitney found reminds her of the poor disclosure and arcane accounting rules that hid the fragile condition of the banks and monoline insurers that she unmasked. "The states represent the new systemic risk to financial markets," says Whitney. "I see a lack of transparency and an abundance of complacency on the part of investors and politicians, just as we saw before the banks imploded."
The study represents a departure for Whitney, whose boutique research firm specializes in providing its clients, including hedge funds, big institutions and banks, with proprietary research on the financial condition of consumers, ranging from projections on credit card defaults to regional employment trends. So why the mega-work on the states? "It's not that my clients requested it," says Whitney. "I was just so shocked by what I was seeing that I couldn't stop. Any long-term strategic plan needs to take account of the dangerous, mostly overlooked problems in the state finances." Whitney describes the reports as "her favorite child."
The title, "The Tragedy of the Commons," comes from a parable about greedy farmers who let their sheep gobble up all the grass in a pasture, leaving the land barren and unfarmable––reflecting the spending frenzy that promises to decimate the prospects for many of America's largest, and formerly most prosperous, states.
Bigger economies, lower ratings
In the report, Whitney rates the fifteen states on four criteria, their economy, fiscal health, housing, and taxes. For each category, she assigns a rating of one, two or three for best, neutral or negative. Only two states get positive overall ratings: Texas and Virginia. Eight are either negative, or rated neutral, with a negative bias. The rub is that those are typically the states with the biggest economies: California, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois (all negative) and Florida, Georgia, and New York (neutral, negative bias).
The problem is that the states that benefited disproportionately from housing are generally the biggest economies, so their woes have become a deadweight on overall economic growth. "Other states such as Nebraska, even with larger ones like Texas, aren't large enough in total to offset the weak growth in the states that depended on real estate," says Whitney.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of Council for Citizens Against Government Waste PAC for re-election in 2010.
“Gov. Perry has been a bright star on the political horizon,” said Tom Schatz, Chairman of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste’s Political Action Committee. “His work on behalf of taxpayers in Texas has been a model of fiscal responsibility. Gov. Perry is the forward edge of a growing army of governors and state officials who have recognized that out-of-control spending is unsustainable and are taking the lead, showing us the way back to fiscal sanity in state budgeting.”
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization representing more than one million members and supporters nationwide. CAGW's mission is to eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government.
"I am proud of our state's record of balancing budgets, holding the line on spending and ensuring the good stewardship of taxpayer dollars," said Gov. Perry. "The endorsement of Citizens Against Government Waste PAC is further proof that Texas' approach to governance works, and I am honored to have their support. I will continue working with our state's leadership to maintain our principles of limited government, low taxes and restrained spending so that Texas can continue to be a leader in the national economy and an example for others to follow."
"It’s a great day to be in Irving as we share news that is great for the local economy and reflective of our state’s overall economic health.
I’m here to announce a Texas Enterprise Fund investment of $1.6 million in Healthcare Management Systems that will lead to the creation of 350 new jobs building on the 671 jobs they already have here in Texas.
Now Healthcare Management Systems, or HMS, was doing what many businesses have been doing in these tight economic times and seeking ways to do business in a more cost-effective fashion.
They looked at the situation in New York City, where their company was headquartered and realized that Texas offered them what they needed to maintain their strong position in their industry.
As a result of their analysis, and a collaborative effort to draw them to Texas, they are consolidating operations from multiple locations and expanding their presence in Texas."
AUSTIN – Gov. Perry today received the endorsement of the Texas Association of Campground Owners for re-election.
“Rick Perry has exhibited great leadership during his tenure as governor and helped the campground industry thrive in the process,” said Texas Association of Campground Owners CEO Brian Schaeffer. “It is a pleasure endorsing Gov. Perry who has done an excellent job attracting more people to Texas than ever while keeping taxes and fees low.”
The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) represents nearly 400 private campgrounds and RV resorts in Texas. Started in 1972 by a group of five campground owners who felt there should be independent marketing and advocacy for the private park industry in Texas. Over the years, TACO has developed a significant consumer facing magazine with a distribution of 250,000, the most widely used website for RV parks and campgrounds in Texas, along with a presence in Austin to insure a positive consumer experience. The association also promotes Texas campgrounds in over 25 RV shows in the US and Canada.
“It is great to have the people of the Texas Association of Campground Owners represent resorts where Texans can visit with their families and friends and enjoy what the private park industry in Texas has to offer,” said Gov. Perry. “I am proud to receive the support of the Texas Association of Campground Owners, and I will continue to make sure they have the resources they need to flourish.”
AUSTIN – Today Gov. Perry received the endorsement of the Investigative and Security Professionals for Legislative Action for the 2010 general election.
“Gov. Perry has been a supporter of the professional investigation and security community for years and we are appreciative of his efforts,” said Peter Psarouthakis, chairman of the Investigative and Security Professionals for Legislative Action. “We look forward to our continued relationship with Gov. Perry.”
The mission of ISPLA is to monitor and identify critical legislative and regulatory issues in order to provide a forum for debate and discussion within the investigative and security professions and to serve as an advocate for these professions.
Their primary functions include reviewing proposed federal and state laws and regulations in order to identify critical issues; implementing action plans; serving as a resource to the profession, government and the media; providing a forum for debate and discussion within the investigative and security professions; conducting educational seminars and workshops; identifying third-party stakeholders with mutual interests and acting as their liaison to government; and creating and administering a bipartisan federal political action committee among other functions.
“The efforts of the people in the Investigative and Security Professionals for Legislative Action is crucial in making sure that our fellow Texans can have a safe place live, a good job and good education,” said Gov. Perry. “I am honored to receive their endorsement and I will continue to champion their efforts so that Texans can know that the quality and integrity of investigative and security professions are upheld.”
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today received the endorsement of the Dental Laboratory Association (DLAT) PAC for re-election in 2010.
“Gov. Perry’s proven leadership has helped uphold the quality of the health and safety of Texans,” said Milton Pokladnik, executive director of DLAT. “We are proud to endorse Gov. Perry and we look forward to working with him to keep our state strong and full of opportunity for all Texans.”
DLAT has more than 200 member laboratories and is the voice of all the dental labs across the state. Texas was the first state in the U.S. requiring owners and operators of dental laboratories to be certified by a nationally recognized board of certification.
“It is an honor to accept the Dental Laboratory Association of Texas PAC endorsement,” said Gov. Perry. “Medical lawsuit reforms that we worked hard to achieve have drawn more medical professionals to practice in our state, improving accessibility for Texans and quality to the healthcare industry. Members of the Dental Laboratory Association of Texas are an important part of our medical community, upholding the safety and integrity of our state’s dentistry profession.”
AUSTIN – Gov. Perry today received the endorsement of the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society PAC for re-election in 2010.
“The Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society PAC proudly endorses Gov. Perry for his continued efforts to maintain high-quality, cost-effective health care for all Texans,” said Chris Shoup, TASCS PAC Chairman. “Texas Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) are extremely grateful to Gov. Perry for providing the tools we need so that our industry will continue to prosper. We look forward to Gov. Perry's proven leadership in 2010 and beyond.”
Founded in 2003, the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) serves as the voice of the Texas ASC industry. Texas has approximately 400 ASCs performing more than 1.2 million surgeries and procedures each year with high-quality, high patient satisfaction and the lowest infection rates for surgical procedures. Texas ASCs provide these surgeries in the most cost-effective setting. In addition to employing over 7,300 Texans, the nearly 400 Texas ASCs will have an estimated economic impact of nearly $1.7 billion and will pay an estimated $424 million in 2009 taxes (according to a January 2009 economic study conducted by the Texas ASC Society).
“It truly is an honor to receive the endorsement of the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society PAC and I look forward to continue working with them and healthcare professionals across the state to assure that high-quality care is given,” said Gov. Perry. “I will also ensure that the challenges the health care industry faces are effectively addressed.” I’m proud of the innovative solutions our great state has brought to the table in light of the national healthcare debate and will proudly continue working to make healthcare more affordable and available for all Texas families.”