TEXAS IN GOOD SHAPE SAYS PERRY IN STATE ADDRESS
(AUSTIN) — Texas values and pragmatism have left the state in a better situation than any other in the U.S., said Governor Rick Perry in his State of the State Address before a joint session of the Legislature Tuesday. The biennial speech gives Perry the chance to lay out his policy goals for the session and to call attention to any obstacles he sees. Though the state is facing a $27 billion shortfall, the governor said that business-friendly policies and low taxes put Texas at the forefront of economic recovery. " The core elements of our economy are strong, and Texas is still the envy of the nation," he said.
|Governor Rick Perry discussed his legislative priorities during his biennial State of the State Address to a joint session of the 82nd Legislature. Among those present on the dais were (L-to-R) Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan, and Senator Carlos Uresti of San Antonio.|
Perry sees the main challenge facing Texas as not the massive budget shortfall but a federal government that burdens the state with mandates and restrictions. He wants state legislators to approve a resolution affirming the 10th amendment to the U.S. constitution, which deals with state sovereignty. "Texans can run Texas better than bureaucrats in Washington D.C.," Perry told the assembled House and Senate members. He also said that the federal government has been derelict in its duty to ensure security along the Mexican border.
As far as policy priorities go, Perry wants state government to do more with less. He called on Legislators to consolidate state agencies wherever possible to avoid wasteful duplication of duties. Streamlining healthcare and appointing a spending watchdog to look over state agencies also topped the list of priorities. Perry also wants to stay out of the emergency Rainy Day Fund, and he wants a balanced budget that doesn't raise taxes.
Many of his policy goals centered around higher education. Perry asked university regents to freeze tuition at the current rate for 4 years, and charged them with developing program to provide a 4-year college degree for under $10,000. He also wants to improve high school graduation rates, by making enrollment in high school or a G.E.D. program a prerequisite for teenagers to have a driver's license.
Though he articulated his goals in Tuesday's speech, Perry has already set a list of priorities before the Legislature by declaring certain emergency issues. Voter I.D. has already passed the Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives. Eminent domain legislation was approved last week by the Senate State Affairs Committee and is expected to come before the full body later this week. Wednesday, the State Affairs Committee will take up a controversial sonogram bill. This leaves only his calls for sanctuary city legislation and resolutions affirming Texas sovereignty and calling for a federal balanced budget as the only emergency issues on which the Senate has yet to take official action.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, February 9 at 11 a.m.