All about Rick: Governor’s selective spurning of federal funds smacks of politics
While states ranging from Mississippi and Florida to New York and Washington vie for $3.4 billion in a second round of federal Race to the Top educational funds, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has once again put politics over the education of Lone Star children by refusing to seek the grant money.
With his spurning of stimulus funds for expanded unemployment benefits and a health insurance pool for high-risk individuals, Perry has staked out an anti-federal government position that helped him easily thrash Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP gubernatorial primary. The governor also has a new book timed to come out for his fall campaign against Democrat Bill White. It's titled Fed Up and is described in a publisher's press release as a polemic against federal interference in state affairs.
Despite his crusade against federal spending, the governor had no problems accepting nearly $22 billion in federal stimulus funds last year that helped the state bridge a massive budget shortfall.
And before he decided that Race to the Top grant criteria encroached on the independence of Lone Star education, he had already sought and accepted $3.7 billion in education stimulus funds.
And before Perry was against Race to the Top, his administration accepted seed money from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to draw up an application for the grant. Employees of the Texas Education Agency spent 800 hours of state time working on it.
After Perry decided against applying, journalists sought access to the documents. In opposing their release in a letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott, a TEA attorney argued that it contained information that would be of use to competitors when the agency applied for the second round of funding. Except that it didn't.
As Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey wrote in February, “Is Gov. Perry being clever here? Is he saying no to the money in order to throw red meat to conservatives in the Republican primary, but plans to say yes afterward?”
The answer seems to be that the governor is going to ride this rhetorical horse at least through the November election, and possibly well beyond toward a bid for national office.
That's bad news for constituents who are unemployed and can't afford health insurance, school districts struggling to provide quality education, and state agencies facing 10 percent budget cuts to deal with the upcoming shortfall.
But that doesn't seem to worry the governor too much. The only race to the top that apparently matters to Rick Perry is his own.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Want to know why the Houston Chronicle is losing readers?
The Houston Chronicle lost 13.77% of their subscribers last year. There are a lot of factors at play there but liberal writing like this is obviously one big reason (link). Excerpt follows...
Dumb. Texas sends more money to the feds than it gets back... Texas should accept all of the federal funds it can get because the state doesn't get enough... but Texas should never commit itself to federal regulations that we would otherwise reject, mandates that are more costly than the money itself, and additional untenable spending in the out years that the feds won't pay for...
Other states got in deep trouble for accepting so much "free" money all of the time... if Texas had rejected more "free" money over the past 30 years we too would be in a much better position right now...
The Houston Chronicle is so off base... Rick is not running for national office... and it actually would have been easier for Rick to just take the money and forget about it than to reject it, which has caused a lot of headache in the form of idiot newspaper writers writing stories like this...