Early voting has started, and now that Election Day is 8 days away, the time has come for every voter to decide who will be voted in to the office of governor of Texas. At this point, most people have made up their minds about who they will vote for, but for those who have not, here is a look at the stint in which Rick Perry has been governor. Many say he has improved the state of Texas and many say that he has worsened it, but which is true?
How Perry has Enhanced Texas
Rick Perry has been the governor of Texas for 10 years. During this time, the state’s biennial budget has grown from $101.7 billion to $182.2 billion, and the state budget has grown by over $12 million. According to Perry’s website, Texas has created over a million new jobs in Texas. It also states that “more than half the new jobs created in the entire nation were created in Texas.”
Rick Perry has also increased security on the Texas- Mexico border. His aim is to fight the gang related violence that stems from Mexico and he has created initiatives to deter people from joining gangs. He has increased the number of troops on the border, which according to his website, “has resulted in a 65% reduction of crime including rape, murder, human trafficking, and narcotics smuggling in our border communities.”
Perry has also reduced property taxes.
How Perry has worsened Texas
Rick Perry may have increased the budget, but he has also created a budget shortfall. In the next two years, Texas is facing a $21 billion budget deficit, similar to the one Texas faced in 2003. In order for Perry to steer the state through the 2003 budget deficit, he cut over 200,000 children from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, trimmed benefits for state employees, and “deregulated university tuition rates, which meant a big jump in college costs”.
When Perry reduced property taxes, he did so across the board. In doing so, schools were affected and were forced to turn over some of their financial dependence on to the state. However, Perry did not raise taxes enough to cover this gap, according to the Houston Chronicle, and school systems across the state have been suffering from it ever since. In addition, with the newest budget shortfall under Perry, people are worried that money for education will be cut yet again. According to the Houston Chronicle, “the Texas Grants financial aid program falls far short of covering all eligible students. It also could be cut in the face of the budget shortfall- a prospect termed ‘catastrophic’ by Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes.”
Perry also reformed the nature of lawsuits during his time in office. He effectively limited the number of personal injury lawsuits in 2003 that allowed the premium for doctors to be reduced. However, George Quesada, who is the president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, said that “Texans should look at who has benefited from the ‘so-called’ reforms. The list should begin with BP; insurance companies who thrive by denying and delaying claims.”
Again, according to the Houston Chronicle, the poor have suffered immensely under Perry. According to them, “one in five Texans lacked health insurance when Perry took office; one out of four does now.”
I believe that Rick Perry has worsened the state of Texas by operation on a “spend now, pay later” credit method. He has cut programs, cut the ability of the poor to make their lives better, and cut the ability of students to go to college. These cuts might have gotten Texas out of the 2003 budget shortfall, but is has created a larger population of poor people and created another budget shortfall. Many students now have to take out more loans because they cannot get the grants they need to attend college. Many people now to rely on emergency care because their children are either cut from programs like CHIP or their private insurance companies deny their claims. Rick Perry has made himself look good in the short run, but has put our future at risk.
Ratcliffe, R.G., and Peggy Fikac. “Perry Lets Numbers Make Case.” Houston Chronicle 24 October 2010: A17. Print.