GOVERNOR RICK PERRY and the TEXAS ECONOMY - PART 1
by Sonja Harris on December 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. - Thomas Jefferson
It was my privilege to have a one-on-one interview with our Governor Rick Perry of the great state of TEXAS! I had typed my list of questions and waited anxiously for his call. His call came in at 5:25 pm 10 minutes late on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. He was very gracious in apologizing for his tardiness. He was pleasant and made me feel comfortable with my questioning. My impressions of our Governor are that he is not at all an arrogant person and actually he is down to earth and seems to really care about Texas and its citizens. He did speak about himself and his goals which are very telling about a person who wants to be a success and has high aspirations for Texas, and in essence, for America. I want the people who lead us to be confident in what they want to accomplish and to identify what it is that they want to accomplish and that they can. Governor Perry knows exactly what goals he wants to achieve for Texans and the American people. He was able to convey this message to me without the ‘almighty’ attitude we are now seeing in some of our elected officials.
I immediately congratulated him on his reelection and on his election of Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He answered with a polite, “Thank you”. He then began to tell me that election night, November 2nd, “was a great night in Texas and a very good night across America”! He had just welcomed two Democrat state representatives into the Republican Party that afternoon. He mentioned that he was also anticipating the election of another Republican later that night making it “102 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives that is just stunning!” he said.
I believe that Governor Perry understands the will of the people. He said, “You have to honor the people’s direction, do what they obviously want you to do, which is to balance the budget without raising taxes and reduce the spending just like people do in their private lives”.
Republican Governors Association Chairman 2011
Referring to the Republican Governors Association Chairman, Governor Perry told me that, “I am recycled in that job which is a very rare thing”. He continued to tell me that most of the governors only serve in that role one time. Governor Perry served as RGA Chairman in 2008 and he felt that for 2011 “they needed someone who had been around a little bit and I was available so they asked me to serve a second term”. He mentioned that the only other Governor that had served two terms was President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan served as RGA Chairman from 1968 – 1970. I told him that he was in very good company. He replied, “Yea, that’s pretty good company!” Who knows, Governor Perry may one day be President of these United States of America!
I then proceeded to ask about the goals that the RGA had set for fundraising and aggressive recruiting. He let me know that he would be recruiting candidates for 2012 and his goals for the RGA. “My job”, he said, “is to set a foundation to raise the substantial funds that will be needed and to fund those 2012 elections which will be upwards of 18 elections”. He let me know that most of these governorships would be in blue states where the Governors are now Democrats. “My goal”, he said, “at the end of 2012 would be that when we convene in 2013 that we have 36 Republican Governors”. He continued, “That is the most in history of our union! It will be a great bit of work!” He let me know how difficult this task would be seeing that these Governor positions are in “pretty blue” states.
Now that you have been reelected for the third term what do you think you can do better than in the past and what would you improve?
“The reason I chose to run again was because I still felt, whether it was transportation infrastructure or whether it was the substantially solid business climate that we have in Texas, we still have work to do”. “I knew we were going to face some difficult financial economic challenges in the state”. He stated, “So in order to keep Texas a place where the tax burden is low and the regulatory climate is fair and predictable, to fund accountable public schools and where the legal system does not allow for over suing it was very, very important to not waiver in the next four years”.
He seemed rather excited about letting me know what he was planning in regards to the Texas economy. “One of the things I am very interested in doing on the legal front is the concept of ‘loser pay’”. “Loser pay”, he said, “would be the first in this country and it would make Texas the haven for all entrepreneurial free market individuals who truly believe in our capitalist way of doing business”. “This concept”, he continued, “would put a major roadblock to those frivolous lawsuits that still clutter up our courts”. He explained to me how the tort reform passed in 2003 was successful but that it really focused on the medical field giving physicians and medical professionals’ protection from frivolous law suits. He was definitely not happy with the personal injury lawyers as they continue to file frivolous law suits hoping to settle with the insurance companies. Their law suits impair businesses, causing problems in our economy. “The next frontier”, he said, “which I refer to as ‘loser pay’ could be a tremendous asset to the Texas future economy”. It would be great to have the loser pay the expenses incurred in a frivolous law suit.
“If ever a time that Texas needed a true fiscal conservative, an individual who had the executive experience in keeping the state on track economically, now is that time”. He also commented on the up coming legislative session, “The 2011 legislative session, I will suggest to you, will be a tremendous challenge to balance the budget without putting additional burden on job creators of this state, with more taxes, regulations, etc.”
Governor Perry then really caught my ear; he began to tell me about what it is that drives him. In essence, what his driving force was during the campaign. He surprised me by saying, “My driving force that got me up every day and got me going was that I looked at this great team of people and I knew we could lead America out of this economic crisis that we find ourselves in by implementing those practices on taxes, regulations, legal, and education that we know are proven”. Then he made this very strong statement, “If Texas is strong then we know this country can be strong”. To this I say, ‘he had me at hello’.
I then asked him if we were going to have a downturn in our Texas economy and what was he personally willing to sacrifice to show solidarity with Texans? He was quick to answer the first part of my question. “I do not think that we are going to see an additional downturn in the Texas economy. The reason I say this is that for the last eight months we have had an uptake in sales tax collections. We have had approximately 6% higher sales tax collections than we had a year ago. We have created jobs for the last eight or nine months. The indicators are that we bottomed out in 2009. That was horrible all across the country. We bottomed out in the first couple of months of 2010 and now we have been on the positive side on both job creation and on sales tax collections”.
The next question is what am I going to do to show solidarity to Texans having to make tough decisions? “We started almost a year ago working with the Lt Governor and Speaker of the House to reduce our Governor’s Office budget. As a matter of fact, I called for a 5% reduction in the current buying expenditures and we actually came in at a little over 10%. We have asked for an additional 5% reduction in the on going two year, what we call the legislative appropriations request”.
This is what makes Governor Perry a proven leader. “I think we must lead by example, if I am going to ask for fiscally responsible reductions then we have to make them in this office as well. With the current budget cycle we are treating it just like we do our personal budget”. Then the tone of his voice turned serious. “Look, Texans are struggling right now and we cannot be the number one exporting state in the nation for the 9th year in a row. We are seeing exports going down. Small businesses are making corrections so for the government to stand up and say ‘we just can’t make these hard decisions’ that is baloney! We will continue to offer up reductions in this office in the coming budget as well”.
PART II TO FOLLOW
TEXAS MEXICAN BORDER – IMMIGRATION BILL