Monday, March 07, 2011

Teabaggers Agonize While Perry Fiddles

I couldn’t help but notice that the Austin American-Statesmen has two nearly back-to-back articles on the Rainy Day Fund today. This one describes how Tea Party Caucus conservative Republicans are coming face-to-face with reality as they begin to realize what cutting expenses will actually do to the education of Texas’ children.

The real costs of failing to educate the next generation are finally coming home to roost.

Contrast that with Governor Perry’s latest move to derail the growing movement to bring about the release of the Rainy Day Fund in order to help balance the budget, by zeroing out the deficits in the allocations to education. It is positively comical how Rick Perry blithely ignores what his Tea Party colleagues are being hit in the face with.

From the Austin American-Statesman:
“[Former Humble ISD school board president Dan] ]Huberty is one of 11 freshman Republicans who won seats in the House and then joined the Tea Party Caucus, a group of legislators pledged to control government spending and fight off tax increases. And though they remain opposed to tax hikes, the new lawmakers — like many of their veteran colleagues — have seen in recent weeks the difficulty of closing a budget gap with spending cuts alone.”

“The state is billions of dollars short of what it needs to continue current programs. To avoid tax increases, House and Senate leaders proposed budgets in January that would slash spending on public education and health care — cuts that would affect classrooms, nursing homes and colleges in just about every lawmaker's hometown.”

“‘I think there were a lot of deer-in-the-headlight looks when the budget was laid out,’ Huberty said.’”
That last bit says it all. There was obviously a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of hard facts about the decisions that will have to be made if the Rainy Day Fund remains locked up while Noah’s Flood descends on Texas. At least they are now starting to pay attention.

Not so Rick “Gaius Julius Nero” Perry, who fully intends to play his fiddle as the water rises.
“Gov. Rick Perry met with the House Republican Caucus for almost an hour Monday in an effort to slow the Legislature’s movement toward drawing money out of the state’s rainy day fund to close a budget gap”
If you read further on, it seems that Perry has altered his stance somewhat, and simply wants the Rainy Day Fund to be used “as a last resort.”

You know, like when the fund was used in 2003 to close the budget gap that existed back then.

As a result of that deficit, $1.3 billion was released from the Rainy Day Fund in 2003 to help balance the books. And since that time, with the price of oil and gas soaring, the Rainy Day Fund has increased by over 400%. Now it might just be me, but if a $10 billion shortfall in 2003 caused the release of $ 1.3 billion from a much, much smaller Rainy Day Fund, I get the overall impression that the scale by which we base judging an act “of last resort” has already been reached.

And surpassed.

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