Texas Republican Leaders Chart The Course For The Legislative Session

Texas Governor Rick Perry says a booming economy and a state revenue windfall should allow lawmakers to cut taxes. He joined lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Strauss in laying out their plans for the new legislative session that is getting underway this week.

Governor Perry said the bright revenue forecast by State Comptroller Susan Combs clarifies the agenda for the 83rd session.

“In the coming months we’ll be working hard to address the needs of our state. We’ll look at infrastructure, the water supply that we need to have in this state,  to improve transportation needs for current and for future generations. I also believe it’s time for us to consider providing some tax relief for Texans.”

Republican Joe Strauss is starting his third term as House speaker, and has outlined an agenda that includes funding public schools, improved infrastructure and water security. He adds tax relief should be a priority.

“The details of that and the potential for that are yet to be determined. We also know that we have some unfinished business from the last session to take care of and, the growing state and a lot of demands for priorities. But of course, I think the legislature has a proven record of efficiency in government and being friendly to taxpayers.”

Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Straus speak on 83rd legislative session

Two years ago, a sluggish economy fueled by a $27-billion dollar shortfall triggered deep spending cuts like in education. But Lt. Governor David Dewhurst says:

“All I can you at the end of the day we’re gonna be putting more resources into public education. And there’s no reason for us to get into a dialogue back and forth, what that number should be because we’ve got 440 percent of our school districts have sued us. So we’re gonna have a court tell us what is the right number for us to put in, and we’ll fund it.”

Governor Perry says it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep the big picture focused.

“We’re gonna go through a very transparent, open and passionate debate about how these dollars a spent, and 138 days from now, hopefully we’ll be going home with a balanced budget, and my bet is not everybody is gonna be happy about where we spend our money.”

After failed campaigns for bigger offices, Perry and Dewhurst want to assert their political clout and vow to make the next four and a half months among the most fiscally conservative sessions in recent history.