2 On The Beat received statements from State Rep. Armando Walle, State Senator Rodney Ellis and State Rep. Carol Alvarado following Governor Perry’s State of the State address:
State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) released the following statement in response to Gov. Rick Perry’s State of the State speech:
“Gov. Rick Perry laid out his agenda for our state in his State of the State speech today, and it appears that the Governor is living in a different state than the rest of us. Gov. Perry continues to claim that we don’t have a budget crisis, but the fact is that Texas is facing a $28 billion budget deficit created by failed Republican policies. The proposed state budgets aim to gut funding for public education, higher education and our most vital state services. These budgets will force school districts to fire thousands of teachers and result in the closure of countless schools and nursing homes.
I am glad that Gov. Perry has finally realized that tuition at our public colleges and universities is too high — yet he now expects these institutions to freeze or lower the cost of tuition while he slashes their budgets by $2 billion. Gov. Perry often rails against unfunded federal mandates, but he seems to have no problem with unfunded state mandates when they come from his own office.
Gov. Perry also can’t seem to make up his mind on government’s role in health care. He continued to rail against the federal health care reform bill today saying that the federal government has no place dictating our medical decisions. However, just a few moments earlier, he advocated for state government to intrude on a personal medical decision with a mandatory ultrasound before an abortion.
Gov. Perry must stop grandstanding and repeating the same disingenuous lines, over and over. Texas was spared the multi-billion dollar budget deficit in 2009 when the federal stimulus bill bailed out our state government, but this year we must address the failed Republican policies that have landed us in this mess.”
Statement of Senator Rodney Ellis on State of the State
“Governor Perry needs to realize that the campaign is over and slogans and bumper stickers are not going to get us out of this mess.
“Let’s look at reality: Texas currently faces a $27 billion shortfall, and the initial budget proposals in the House and Senate slash essential services that help millions of Texans families. According to the Comptroller, we have a $10 billion structural deficit, so just gutting programs for Texans is not the answer. If that is the only plan, we are going to be right back here in two years dealing with another budget hole, just as in 2009 when we were bailed out by the federal government.
“So far, this budget tells the disabled Texas child: ‘sorry, won’t help you.’ It tells grandma in the nursing home and on Medicaid: ‘too bad, move back in with your kids.’ The student who followed the rules and we’ve pushed to go to college: ‘good luck with that, but we don’t have any financial aid for you, and tuition is going up.’
“This budget solution is an all out assault on working Texas families struggling to make ends meet. It protects tax loopholes and tax breaks that cost our state yet produce minimal results, it will eliminate over 100,000 jobs, and leave millions of Texans without essential, basic services. It’s a cold, impersonal and sterile approach to governing, but budgets aren’t merely numbers—they have real world, sometimes life and death, implications for hundreds of thousands of Texans.
“A ‘balanced budget’ that places all of the burden on those who can least afford it is not an achievement. We must ensure Texans struggling the most are given a helping hand, not a cold shoulder, and those doing well must bear more of the load. Texas already ranks near the bottom in education resources provided to our communities, and at the top in the percentage of residents without health insurance, and this budget is an express ticket straight to the bottom; Legislators in Mississippi will be saying ‘thank God for Texas’.
“Texans deserve a genuine, honest discussion on the budget crisis, not more rhetoric and campaign talk.”
State Representative Carol Alvarado
Responds to the Governor’s ‘State of the State’ Speech
“The Governor has once again made promises to Texans that he simply cannot pay for. By ignoring the state’s structural deficit that continues to leave a gap in our budget, the Governor is simply ignoring the realities of our budget.
The Governor’s misplaced priorities are full of misdirection that fail to secure the quality of life for Texas families. His emphasis on emergency bills do little or nothing to improve our budgetary needs, and his personal funding priorities do nothing to save the jobs of the nearly 10,000 state employees that the state budget will eliminate.
While the Governor is claiming to save lives through his emergency legislation, such as the sonogram bill, he is systematically putting the lives of more Texans in peril through a cuts-only budget. Taking $1.57 billion out of nursing home funding puts thousands of senior citizens in danger of being homeless and cutting veteran’s services by 21 percent does little to honor those who sacrificed for our freedoms. Despite the Governor’s claims that he will not accept any unfunded mandates being pushed onto our local governments, Medicaid cuts will represent a large cost shift to local governments throughout Texas, as these cuts will lead to higher local taxes and higher insurance premiums.”