AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Rick Perry is making no promises that Texas will roll back any of the deep state spending cuts imposed during past economic doldrums - not even $5.4 billion sliced from public schools.
The governor says the state has no obligation to restore funding levels reduced in 2011, even as a stronger economy has given the state Legislature more money to work with as it reconvenes this week.
Perry had breakfast Wednesday with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus. All three spoke of unity, promising to make cutting taxes a priority.
But Dewhurst then broke ranks somewhat and promised that more funding would go to public education.
Straus has already promised to increase funding to schools enough to cover enrollment growth - requiring an extra $2 billion.
The following press release was issued by Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus:
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus today met to discuss priorities for the 83rd Legislative Session, primarily their commitment to budget transparency and the conservative fiscal policies that have made Texas a national leader in job creation and prosperity. They also reiterated their focus on working with the Legislature to address the growing demands on our state’s infrastructure, strengthen education for our skilled workforce, and provide tax relief for Texans.
“The lieutenant governor, speaker and I are united in our vision and goals for this session, and we’ll work together to produce a transparent, fiscally-conservative budget that meets the needs of Texans and restrains spending,” Gov. Perry said. “In Texas, we know that money does the most good in the hands of those who earned it. By sticking to the conservative fiscal policies that have made Texas a beacon for job creation and business growth, we will continue to enable employers of all sizes to succeed.”
“I'm committed to keeping Texas fiscally and politically the complete opposite of Washington. I want to protect our freedom and liberty, keeping spending low and balancing our budget without raising taxes,” Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. “Texas’ business and fiscal condition are number one, but to stay on top is harder than getting to the top. We need comprehensive public education reform, including more choice for parents, and the development of more drinking water, highway capacity, and power generation as our Texas population doubles over the next 40-50 years.”
"The House will work to strengthen public and higher education, improve workforce quality by preparing more Texans for cutting-edge jobs, secure reliable supplies of water, and increase budget transparency," Speaker Straus said. "We will seek to build consensus on each of these priorities, and we look forward to working with the Senate, lieutenant governor and governor as well."