The swirling force of Texas politics

Perry Addresses N. Texas Business Group

Governor calls for limits on state spending increases, strong rainy day fund, end to short-term financial fixes

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    Gov. Rick Perry says state leaders have the opportunity to get the budget right. Perry was at a chamber of commerce luncheon in Plano talking about his new Texas Budget Compact.

    Gov. Rick Perry addressed a Plano business group Wednesday as he promoted his proposal for the state budget.

    Perry, the keynote speaker at a Plano Chamber of Commerce luncheon, promoted his "Texas Budget Compact" proposal.

    “It’s very important that, as we go forward, even though we’re performing better than any state in the nation, that we don’t take what’s going on in Texas as a license to go spend all that extra money," he said.

    His speech came two days after he proposed a constitutional amendment limiting of state spending increases to population growth and inflation.

    The proposal also demands making permanent a business tax exemption for companies with annual revenues of less than $1 million.

    The compact asks legislators to keep the state's rainy day fund to remain strong, eliminates unnecessary and redundant state government programs and agencies, and demands "truth in budgeting" by ending short-term financial fixes that put off decisions to future legislatures.

    Perry said the state should maintain its rainy day fund despite criticism that areas such as education would continue to be under strain.

    “My instinct is that no one in the education world is going to say that we funded it the way they’d have liked to see it funded,” Perry said. “We’re going to continue to fund Texas education at an appropriate level.”

    The governor said he wants to start a discussion about the budget before the heart of the upcoming election season.

    “If they just let me be a dictator, it would be a lot easier, but that’s not the way we work,” he said, saying he must work well with legislators.

    Perry said he expects to see some new faces in Austin for the next legislative session.

    “We have probably a new lieutenant governor, probably five new fiscally conservative senators coming into the Senate," he said. "You’ve got 40 new House members that are probably going to be driven by some fiscally conservative philosophies. I think there’s a unique opportunity for us to hit the reset button on the budgetary side.”