With Texas staring at a budget deficit of between 11 and 18 billion dollars, the Governor didn’t offer specifics about how to cut spending, but did say the people of Texas and lawmakers in Austin are ready and able to make tough decisions.
“In my view, there’s no other population that’s more resilient the work ethic, or has the work history of rugged independence that we do in the great state of Texas. The strength that has helped us weather these tough times will keep our state moving forward, setting an example for the nation to follow. Our state’s prospects for future success are bright and the state of our state will remain strong.”
Perry has been Texas governor for almost 10 years and would like to add another four, which would make him the longest serving governor in the state’s history. He says his track record includes sustained job growth.
“After leading the nation in job creation during the last decade, more than 850,000 new jobs, Texas has added more jobs this year than any other state. That’s a big deal. It’s a big deal, especially for those folks who started out the year without a job.”
But his opponent in the race for Governor, former Houston Mayor Bill White, says Perry touting job growth in Texas doesn’t tell the whole story.
“Right now, we have lost 200,000 private sector jobs over the last 18 months in Texas. That our unemployment rate is higher than in our neighboring states. And you will find no mention of the fact that the unemployment rate today in Texas is almost double what it was when he took office.”
Governor Perry kept his State of the State address mostly non-partisan. It’s an address that happens every couple of years and is hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. But Democratic State Senator Rodney Ellis says for Perry to take credit for the state’s relative good fortunes over the past decade is disingenuous.
“In most of my 20 years in the State Senate, the Texas economy has performed better than other states economies. And that’s still the case now. But for someone who is governor or running for governor to take credit for that, it’s kind of like a chicken, a rooster running around taking credit for the sun coming up. It’s going to come up anyway.”
Ellis also encouraged Perry and White to debate before Election Day. Perry was invited to a debate here in Houston last weekend, but declined, saying he won’t until White releases his tax returns from when he worked in the Clinton administration in the 1990’s.