Rick spoke to the same group later in the same day. He did not mention Kay by name in his remarks.
The highly clean and articulate Jason Embry has some of the details (link). Excerpt follows:
“Our low taxes, controlled government spending and fair legal system give us a leg up on other states,” Perry told the Texas Daily Newspapers Association on Monday.
But to hear Hutchison tell it, much of the state’s economic success is, if not an accident, a product of good weather, good air service and decisions made long before Perry moved into the Governor’s Mansion at the end of 2000, such as not having a state income tax not allowing unions to “dominate” the state.
“The reason Texas is in good shape today is because of the attributes that we have that neither the governor nor I produced,” Hutchison told the newspaper group, speaking a few hours before Perry.
Hutchison criticized Perry’s approach but did not say whether she would have also rejected the federal aid.
“I agree with him on the point that the fed government should not have mandated the specifics in the coverage,” Hutchison said. “However I believe that we look at all of the aspects of this, that we are in a position where it’s not status quo in the fund. I think there are management questions about where we are.”
She added, “A leader would be taking time to look at all of these aspects and coming up with a better solution.”
Perry has said that taking the federal dollars would have cost more in the long run.
“I think most Texans look at Washington, D.C. today and see what’s going on up there and they’re like, ‘Listen, the last thing we want is Washington coming down here to Texas and telling us how to run our state,’” Perry said. “We have a system in place that works. The people who lose their jobs by no fault of their own are going to be covered.”
Signaling how he will run against Hutchison, Perry used the word “Washington” seven times in a 100-second exchange with reporters.
The Houston Chronicle also took note of the sparks (link). Excerpt follows:
"I would be hoping that he is looking for innovative ways not to dock the taxpayers of Texas," Hutchison said. "I think a leader would be taking time to look at all of these aspects and coming up with a better solution."
Perry, after speaking to the news industry group later in the day, disagreed with the senator. Perry has said taking the unemployment fund dollars would force the state to keep paying for expanding jobless benefits for the long term.
"I think most people in the state of Texas understand that having Washington D.C. give us a bunch of requirements and then wipe their hands of it and say, 'Oh and by the way, in two years that money is going to be gone' — for us to have taken that money would have been irresponsible and that's the reason we stood up and said we made the right decision: No thank you, Washington," Perry told reporters.
Texans who are laid off from their jobs will continue to be covered by the state's existing system, Perry said.
According to the Houston Chronicle article, Kay took a shot directly at Rick, while Rick never mentioned Kay in his speech. Does it seem odd to anyone else for the alleged front runner to attack the alleged underdog, and not vice versa?
My take on the issue at stake here...
I may be biased on this issue, because I am a fairly typical GOP primary voter in that I am not happy with government spending, not happy with high taxes, and I am really not happy with the various bailouts we are seeing out of Washington. That being said, I am still listening to both candidates as they make their pitches, and I am always about the last person in the party to officially commit to a candidate during primaries, even when it is obvious which candidate is going to win. It's just how I am. That being said, Kay has had a couple of pretty bad weeks, and Rick has done pretty well for himself over the same period.
In that vein, I am having trouble following Kay's logic here. This particular statement really bothers me, as someone who believes policy decisions actually make a difference (link):
Kay: "The reason Texas is in good shape today is because of the attributes that we have that neither the governor nor I produced."
I strongly disagree with this statement. Economic consequences do not happen by accident. Tort reform did not happen by accident. Attributing Texas' relatively good economy to fate or something else that is out of our control is highly specious. Lots of other states have great ports or locations or weather. Not all of them are doing well. Just look at the numbers comparing states with certain characteristics... policies make a huge difference. It bothers me a lot that a politician would even think that what they do (or don't do) doesn't matter. A few of the things that make Texas great today, Rick inherited, but let's take unemployment insurance as an example. Kay's logic breaks down here.
Kay wants Rick to cave to Obama and change Texas law in order to receive federal unemployment insurance money that will go away in a few years, leaving Texas on the hook for a massively expanded program.
In other words, if Kay had been Governor, Texas might be changing our laws to be more like California or other liberal states so we can receive the federal money. Over the course of a Governor's term, there will be several big decisions like this, dozens of somewhat big decisions, and hundreds of small decisions that all add up. The sum of these decisions makes a huge difference to the success of the state. Texas is more economically competitive today by far than if Rick had not been Governor.
Kay obviously has to break through this argument by downplaying Rick's record as a scrappy free market fighter, but her argument that A) Texas would be fine anyway regardless of who was in charge, yet B) Kay would have done things much differently doesn't jive. Part B undermines Part A, and vice versa.