Gov. Rick Perry highlighted legislative accomplishments of the 82nd Legislative Session, and urged lawmakers to take swift action on unfinished legislative business as outlined in his call for a special session. The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, where he commended legislative action that passed the state budget without raising taxes while preserving the Rainy Day Fund, and measures that addressed emergency items and other priority legislation.
"The voters of Texas made it clear last November that they wanted a leaner, more efficient state government with no new taxes, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished together to deliver that and more," Gov. Perry said. "The steps taken over the past 140 days have placed Texas on the path to even greater prosperity in the years to come. I look forward to lawmakers taking quick action on the important issues remaining before them in the special session."
Gov. Perry praised legislators for making the tough choices necessary to keep Texas living within its means in the face of one of the most significant budget challenges in our state's history. Lawmakers have passed a fiscally responsible budget without raising taxes, while maintaining essential services and preserving more than $6 billion in the Rainy Day Fund to keep the state equipped to respond to potential natural disasters or ongoing national economic challenges.
The governor also applauded lawmakers for their work in passing key issues he declared emergency items. These include measures that strengthen Texas' legal climate by implementing a loser pays system to cut down on frivolous lawsuits; protect the integrity of elections by requiring voters to present a photo ID at the polls; protect life by requiring a woman to receive a sonogram before electing to have an abortion; strengthen private property rights by passing eminent domain protections into law; and call on the U.S. Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment. Additionally, Gov. Perry highlighted important legislation that will combat human trafficking, giving prosecutors the tools to ensure those that commit this crime are brought to justice and strengthening the penalties for those who are convicted.
Yesterday, Gov. Perry issued the call for a special session to address fiscal matters necessary for the implementation of House Bill 1, including measures that will allow school districts to operate more efficiently, and measures to address healthcare cost containment, access to services through managed care, and the creation of economic and structural incentives to improve the quality of Medicaid services.
In a letter sent to President Barack Obama late Saturday afternoon, Gov. Rick Perry requested a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas as a result of widespread wildfires and continuing fire danger across the state. The governor identified 252 Texas counties presently threatened or impacted by wildfires. Since the wildfire season began, Texas has responded to 7,807 fires across the state that have burned more than 1,528,714 acres and destroyed 244 homes. Rescue efforts have saved 8,514 threatened homes.
Gov. Rick Perry today toured an area of West Texas that has been affected by wildfires that have intensified in the region over the past several days, and met with local officials and first responders who are working to battle the fires. State resources were deployed across the state over the weekend, and continue to assist local efforts while dangerous conditions continue.
“Today’s action by the House is another step toward achieving fiscal responsibility and ensuring state government lives within its means. House members set priorities for state spending and found savings, and thanks to their leadership, this budget paves the way to help Texas recover from the impacts of the national economic recession.
“You cannot tax or spend your way to prosperity, and Texans expect their elected leaders to govern under that truth when it comes to taxpayer dollars. I look forward to working with members of the Senate as we continue to move a budget through the legislative process that lays the foundation for a prosperous future while funding our state’s priorities, and preserving the balance of the Rainy Day Fund without raising taxes on families or employers."
Governor Perry held a bi-partisan press conference in Houston to underscore the state's efforts to combat human trafficking.
"In Texas, we must do everything possible to ensure more people don't fall into the trap of human trafficking and to make sure that the people behind these insidious acts pay the price for their crimes," said Governor Perry.
Governor Perry was joined by Attorney General Greg Abbott, Representative Senfronia Thompson, and Senator Leticia Van de Putte.
To read the Governor's remarks and to see photos from this event, click here:http://governor.state.tx.us/news/speech/15888/
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economists said Thursday that Texas could add 261,000 to 374,000 jobs this year, growing between 2.5 and 3.5 percent, based on movements in leading indicators. At that pace -- Texas jobs are already growing about 2.5 percent annually -- the state's unemployment rate could drop to 7 percent by year's end, economists Keith Phillips and Emily Kerr said in the bank's latest edition of Southwest Economy.
Separately, the Texas Workforce Commission said the state added 44,100 jobs in January from a month earlier, moving to just under 10.5 million. The growth was led by trade, transportation and utilities.
Governor Perry delivered his State of the State address this week, proposing to consolidate or suspend non-critical state agencies in order to make state government more streamlined and efficient. The governor also outlined his priorities for the 82nd Legislative Session, including balancing the budget without raising taxes, preserving essential services, and strengthening Texas' position as a national economic leader through sound policies. Check out the Governor's entire State of the State address below.
According to Governor Perry, "The Texas arts industry plays an important role in generating and sustaining economic success. They contribute to and express our state’s intriguing culture and heritage. They personify and instill the unique pride common to all Texans, and help cultivate a way of life unlike any other place in the nation."
The video below reveals how the arts community continues to encourage economic growth in a variety of Texas towns, including Amarillo.
Visit the full Texas Tribune article to learn more about other Texas cities featured in "The Art of Economic Development".
Last week Governor Perry spoke at the 2011 Texas Rally for Life, where he declared legislation to require a sonogram before a woman elects to have an abortion as an emergency item for the 2011 legislative session.
Follow @GovPerry2010 to learn more about what is happening during session.
Session is officially underway. One of Governor Perry's emergency items got voted through the Senate Wednesday afternoon.
"Texans are required to show an ID in many day to day circumstances like boarding an airplane, withdrawing money from a bank account and driving a car," says Governor Perry. "There is no reason an ID should not be required to vote in the effort to uphold the integrity of our electoral process."
"Fiscal discipline, balanced budgets and the integrity of the ballot box are critical to the people of Texas," Gov. Perry said. "Under this emergency declaration, Texas lawmakers will be able to address these priority issues more quickly."