A recent column by Ted B. Lyon, Jr. in the Dallas Morning News attempts to set the record straight on Rick Perry’s record as Governor of Texas. Lyon’s ire was raised by a recent Jay Ambrose column that as Lyon put it did “everything but give Perry credit for talking Sam Houston into attacking at San Jacinto.”
Let’s compare what was written with some facts.
Crediting Perry for holding schools accountable or that he urged affordable college education is misguided at best. Texas parents sure know better.
Perry was so hostile to public schools that over 600 districts — in rural counties as well as urban and suburban neighborhoods — sued him for failing to meet the minimum standard of support required by our state constitution. Exhibit A is the $5.4 billion education cut Perry signed into law. It’s the first time in over two decades that state leaders failed to fully fund Texas’ rapid enrollment growth.
Forget that Perry might have urged making college more affordable. Look instead at what he signed off on: deregulation of college tuition that has been devastating to families with college-aged kids. On Perry’s watch, the cost to send a young man or woman to college in Texas shot up by over 50 percent.
As far as jobs go, the one Perry protected best was his own, and he made sure he got paid pretty well, too. Turns out that Perry was not only earning a full-time salary as governor, he also was double-dipping by taking a state retirement pension. While a lot of new jobs were created in Texas, most of them were due to Texans’ willingness to work more for less pay than people in other states, making it harder to support a family.
Perry actually turned down the biggest new jobs opportunity — health care expansion. Nonpartisan studies show that expanding health care in Texas would create over a quarter-million new jobs and pump billions into the Texas economy. Republican governors all over the country put their personal politics aside to realize this benefit for their states. Perry didn’t have the insight, political courage or plain old common sense to do the right thing for Texas.
Perry backers like to throw around buzzwords like deregulation and trivial lawsuits. That may be music to the ears of insurance executives and nursing home owners, but what has it really meant for Texans? Well, under Perry, Texans have been forced to pay the third-highest home insurance rates in the country. If an elderly parent or disabled loved one dies from abuse in a nursing home, Perry has tied the hands of judges and juries. He’s capped the value of a loved one’s life or disabling damage suffered to $250,000 — less than Perry took home in salary and pension every two years.
There’s no problem with Rick Perry letting everyone know that Texas is the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world. I absolutely agree with him. I also know, along with others who are paying attention, that Texas is a great state despite Rick Perry and not because of him.