Quoted from News8Austin and its copy of his prepared remarks:
...I want to issue a special welcome to our newest members. You are the invigorating lifeblood every democratic body needs. Thank you for your willingness to serve.
...at the expense of the citizenry's financial blood
, he declined to say.
Democracy functions best when we have an active citizenry. It is great to see the balconies filled by folks our forefathers called, "we the people."
Democracy is the idea that some portion of the individual's life in a society ought to be governed and controlled by a voting population within that society. What Governor Perry is discussing here is merely the participation of civilians in the witnessing of the results of that voting process.
Then again, he may just be subtly acknowledging something else: democratic governments cannot function without the general consent (coerced or not) of the individuals within, nor without the wealth skimmed from those "active" individuals who work to create the wealth in the first place.
As we gather today, I am more optimistic than ever about our future.
Dark economic clouds are dissipating into an emerging blue sky of opportunity. In the last 15 months, we have added 162,000 jobs. In 2003, we attracted nine of the 24 largest capital investments in the nation, including the single largest investment, a $3 billion Texas Instruments semiconductor plant.
Last year we convinced Vought Aircraft to add 3,000 jobs in Texas, and then we persuaded Countrywide Mortgage to bring 7,500 jobs to our state Ė the largest job expansion nationwide in four years.
These major investments, and many more, were made possible by the Texas Enterprise Fund, a fund that is not only bringing jobs to the big cities, but to towns like Brownwood, New Braunfels, Buda, Nacogdoches, Port Neches, League City and Ennis too, Chairman Pitts.
Itís no wonder Site Selection Magazine called Texas the best business climate in the nation in 2004.
Without the aforementioned wealth ($390 million
as a starting figure)to lure those companies here, they'd rethink their plans quite quickly. Reminder to all government officials: the state does not create, it consumes. It is free enterprise that creates.
Job growth has led to tremendous revenue growth.
Spoken like a true parasite, even if he and his cohorts managed to "[lower] general revenue spending" for the first time in more than sixty years.
Going forward, we must not retreat on the principle behind our prosperity, fiscal responsibility.
We did not tax and spend our way to a revenue surplus, and we need not tax and spend our way to future shortfalls.
Note that when he says "our prosperity," he's talking to the assemblage of government officials who hold the tax wealth purse in their hands. Also note that, despite the most strenuous objections to the contrary, all politicians (including Republicans) "tax and spent" on a daily basis. The disagreements are on what
to tax and how
to tax; what
to spend, and how
A perfect example is public education.
Standards are higher and test scores are rising again. According to a study by Achieve Inc., Texas is the first state to make a college-prep curriculum the standard coursework in high school, starting with this yearís ninth grade class.
We were the first state to require individual graduation plans for at-risk students, and provide a personalized study guide for 11th grade students that fail state assessments. And we have joined the Gates Foundation in investing $130 million in the Texas High School Initiative to reorganize and reconstitute failing schools.
Public education is funded through tax-and-spend means, so it is obvious Governor Perry doesn't actually care about what he's speaking of.
Because of leadership on both sides of the aisle, doctors are returning to areas once deemed high-risk, hospitals are seeing double-digit declines in their insurance costs, and patient access is improving because the personal injury trial lawyers are no longer calling the shots when it comes to Texans' health care.
By outlawing some kinds of lawsuits, the state of Texas has squelched the freedom to large just rewards for legitimate cases of medical malpractice in return for addressing a symptom of the real disease: government interference in the health care sector of the sort that forces providers to assume and absorb costs they'd otherwise avoid.
Texans stuck in traffic now know that help is on the way. The Trans Texas Corridor is quickly becoming a reality with the private sector willing to expend $7.2 billion up front without asking for one dime in state money for construction. This toll project will allow us to build needed corridors sooner and cheaper. And for those who like driving on free lanes today, let me be clear: I do not support tolling existing lanes.
What goes unmentioned are the perverse and pervasive incentives offered by the state of Texas to those contractors to do the work in the first place. You disagree? Then why didn't those contractors, sensing a profit opportunity, jump on that opportunity and build those roads themselves?
And I call bullshit on this assertion that the public roads we drive on are "free." This is patently NOT the case: how do, for example, the Texas Department of Transportation (2003 budget: $5.2 billion) and the City of Austin's Transportation Division (2004-2005 budget: $54.7 million) get the money to do the work they do? Yeah, toll roads are a bad idea, but only because they represent multiple-taxation and continued state control over the transportation network.
The reforms of the last two years have protected Texansí pocketbooks, preserved their health care and improved the job climate. With our recent economic growth, continuing gains in education and a better budgetary picture, the Lone Star of Texas is once again on the rise.
So, today I am proud to declare the state of our state is vibrant and our future is limitless.
Again, I think he means the state of the State of Texas, and the future for any entity that exists primarily because individuals fear resisting it has an almost limitless future.
Because of the right choices you have made, we find ourselves at the brink of a new era of possibility. And today I ask you to consider what is possible if we make wise investments in good jobs, great schools, and stronger families.
...with the money you taxed away from those you intended to help
, he declined to say.
Education often gets reduced to a numbers game inside the walls of this Capitol. But inside the walls of our schools, the greatest concern is whether our children grow and learn. Let us keep the most important issue the most important issue: and that is the quality of education in our schools.
Educational quality is important. But privatizing education
would be my priority, because once parents are freed from the burden of heavy property taxes, they'll have more money at their discretion to find schools that successfully compete in the marketplace and offer the kind of curriculum and learning environment that more closely matches their values.
This is not merely an exercise in accounting, or a chance to change our complex funding formulas. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure children of every background are given a chance in life.
The financing component is critical, but it is only the means to an end destination. And we will not arrive at that destination until every child, in every corner of this state, can walk through the schoolhouse doors and have waiting for them the best teachers, the best curriculum, and the best opportunity to succeed.
This is a fat slathering of moronic utopianism. It cannot be done, not while at the same time upholding economic and social freedom.
I ask you to think about what is possible, not what is standard practice, when it comes to education.
Shit, it would be "possible" and "nonstandard" for the Texas lawmaking process to mandate that all children in families that make less than $100,000 a year to enroll in public schools, to impose an income tax of 30% on all individuals earning over $100,000 a year, to require all public school children to pass a state test every semester, and to threaten those who do not comply with punishments. Words, ideas, and concepts mean things, man. This is dangerous rhetoric, particularly in the hands of people who control the government.
We must have two goals: ensuring more students graduate and ensuring more students graduate prepared for college.
So much for the previous utopian goal of "the best teachers, the best curriculum, and the best opportunity."
Today we have 36,399 students trapped in failing schools. Last year 889,468 students failed at least one section of the TAKS. And two years ago 15,665 students dropped out.
When our work is done, parents wonít measure our success by how much money we spend, but whether more children learn.
I'd so dearly like to have a minute or two at a public podium to declare this simple message: Stop pushing every child through a process that they do not either unanimously desire to experience or at which are not unanimously capable of succeeding. School attendance ought to be voluntary and schools ought to have the authority of throwing out whomever they please for whatever reasons they choose. The deadweight of deliberate delinquents, thugs, and the mentally inept ought not to be on the shoulders of those who want to educate the willing. In any system, there is going to be a certain and shifting percentage of "noise" that cannot be converted to "signal." I say identify and stop worrying about them.
And I'd like to know why the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test is a standard against which academic achievement should be measured. Because it was established by the government and with the input of experts?
Letís attract our best and brightest teachers to our toughest learning environments. Too often our struggling schools attract our most inexperienced teachers. We need to recruit proven teachers to under-performing schools, teachers who can turn around a campus one child and one classroom at a time.
We have many excellent teachers in Texas. I want our best and brightest teachers to be paid salary incentives as high as $7,500 a year when they rekindle the love of learning among children too often left in the shadows of success.
Excellence should not be rewarded the same as mediocrity; otherwise, mediocrity becomes its own incentive. When money follows results, we will get more results for our money.
Thatís exactly what is happening with the Advanced Placement incentive program that rewards schools with up to $100 for each student that registers a high score. In its first five years, the A.P. incentive helped double student participation and helped us nearly triple participation among African-American and Hispanic students.
Achievement incentives work.
Incentives do work, but they work best in a capitalist system. The incentives he speaks of here can not and could never compare to the incentives in an educational free market. The greatest incentive a state could offer to a teacher - "produce x%
of student excellence or we'll execute you" - would merely induce the teacher to do to an extreme degree what is already done: "teach to the test." The incentives in a free market, on the other hand, revolve around meeting the demands of the customer. Designing a system to mimic this process is doomed to fail due to the fundamental differences between a state-run entity and a privately-run entity.
With the right incentives, we can encourage more students to take our hardest course of study...
We must provide meaningful progress incentives for schools that serve mostly disadvantaged student populations. The challenges these schools face are difficult but not impossible. Letís meet this challenge with new resources...
We must establish school turn-around teams at the Texas Education Agency...
Every child is entitled to a public education...
It is time to take the next step and increase funding for the Early Start program...
I also support the expansion of teacher mentoring.
Letís do more to help children in broken families...to promote responsible fatherhood...invest $25 million more in mentoring programs...
In other words: Tax and spend.
Letís give children who need a second chance new choices that can forever change their future. Letís give them school choice.
People already have a choice in education. However, it is the government that has whittled away at the ability of individuals to make that choice.
It is time to cut property taxes for the hardworking people of Texas. In fact, letís not only give Texans property tax relief. Letís give them appraisal relief too.
Texans donít like taxation without representation, and they are sick and tired of taxation by valuation.
Hoo-ah! Cut those damn taxes!
As we lower property taxes, we must all work together to find the right mixture of new revenues without harming Texansí jobs. I join the leadership of both houses in support of the concept of a broad-based business tax that is fairly distributed, assessed at a low rate and reflects our modern economy.
When it comes to a business tax, most employers want you to keep it simple, treat everybody fairly and create protections so the rate is not easily raised.
This is the gentle fleecing of the wealth creators and it should be opposed.
ADDED AT 11:50pm
With our vastly improved budgetary picture, we can provide new money for education and real reductions in property taxes without increasing the net tax burden on Texans.
Today I am submitting a budget that substantially increases investments in jobs, public education, higher education, health care and protective services and that reduces spending at 60 percent of our state agencies. And it provides a $2.3 billion cushion to close out the books on this biennium and invest even more money in key priorities.
And what happens when, after you rachet up spending again, the budgetary picture deteriorates further and the margins you have to work with (revenue - the spending too politically entrenched to cut) shrinks? It is irresponsible to see a budget surplus as an invitation to spend enough to fill the gap.
Some say it canít be done. But if we can avoid a tax hike in the face of a $10 billion shortfall, we can do it again in times of surplus.
As if it is some miracle Texans in government discovered that one way to get out of a budget deficit is to cut the freakin' budget.
Then again, it may be.
I ask you to not only replenish the Enterprise Fund, I ask you to make investments to grow our world-class research institutions, develop cutting edge technologies and harvest the miracle of modern science with a new $300 million Emerging Technology Fund.
In other words, corporate and academic welfare. No thanks.
Over the next 10 years, California is investing $3 billion in one area of biotechnology, Ohio is putting up $1.1 billion for technology commercialization and Kansas is investing half a billion dollars in biotechnology. We canít afford to be left behind.
I know of a bridge people like to jump off of...
In the next 10 years, emerging technologies will generate $3 trillion in revenue worldwide. The question is, where will those investments be made, and who will reap the benefits? Where will the better, faster computer architecture be designed, the gene therapies and treatments that will rescue people from terminal and chronic diseases, the cleaner technologies that will clean the air our children breathe? I want them developed in Texas labs by Texas minds to the benefit of the Texas economy.
Putting aside the troublesome fact that no useful product the market can find a price for will quite quickly transcend vulgar geopolitical barriers...
Preserving jobs requires action on three other fronts.
First, I ask you to relieve Texas employers of some of the highest workers compensation costs in the nation.
Easy. Stop forcing/incentivizing individuals and businesses to participate in workers' compensation to begin with. Abolish the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission. Let people come to their own agreements about restitution for workplace dangers and injuries. BOOM
- instant growth in the Texas economy.
Second, as the Public Utility Commission goes under sunset review, I ask you to modernize telecommunications laws so we have a regulatory framework that keeps up with technology advancesÖand allows for greater economic opportunity.
Easy. Abolish all the regulations from top to bottom. Let participants in the market choose the direction of technological growth, deployment, and service. BOOM
- instant economic growth.
And third, it is time to end Texasí status as the home of frivolous asbestos lawsuits. Letís care for those who are truly sick, while preserving legal rights for those who are not.
I haven't followed this issue much at all, but if the plan is to restrict who can file for damages, when they can file for damages, where they can file for damages, and how much in damages they can get, then I'd say it's on the wrong track.
Medicaid and CHIP meet a great need.
And I shouldn't have to be forced to help meet it.
When it comes to CHIP, better economic times will allow this legislature to re-examine the programís benefits, and provide dental, vision and mental health care. I support such an investment. Our goal should be to provide benefits we can afford while preserving CHIP for families that need it the most.
We must not lose sight of the long-term goal to move more Texans from subsidized insurance to private insurance.
Reconciling these two is something no effective politician will be able to do in today's political climate. I have no doubt Governor Perry and the Republicans will screw it up while the Democrats make demands that would screw it up further.
We need to continue these successes by promoting innovative options like health savings accounts so Texans have viable health care alternatives that put them back in charge of health care decisions.
What is so gawddamn "innovative" about the idea that we should be allowed to keep more of out money to spend it as we see fit?
Letís fully fund the Irma Rangel Pharmacy School in Kingsville. And letís fully fund the Texas Tech Medical School in El Paso.
I'm begining to wonder if these kinds of things are just giveaways to the Democrats to get their help on other issues.
Our greatest concern in health and human services must be to invest in the most fundamental components of our safety net so we can protect those who canít help themselves: those in the dawn of their lives or the twilight of their years who are at risk of neglect and abuse.
These kinds of services are not my responsiblity to fund as long as I'm not the one using them. This is what lifetime savings and investments are for, people!
You act foolishly by not building them and act maliciously when you make someone else fill the gap. Ditto for his words on Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services
The right to life is a fundamental right declared by our forefathers.
Funny you should mention this because you don't respect the secondary rights that follow from that primary
If you send me a bill requiring parental consent for a minor to have an abortion, I will sign it without delay because it will protect innocent life.
And in order to preserve the sanctity of human life, I ask you to send me a bill to ban human cloning in Texas.
The required bones thrown to the conservatives.
Texans agree there is a legitimate role for government but there must also be a limited role for government. While government must meet a great many social needs, it should never loom larger in our lives than our freedoms.
I hope it is painfully clear by now that when he says this I consider him a complete fucking liar.
Today, we have once again been reminded that freedom is protected at a great price with the news that 31 Marines were killed in a helicopter crash early this morning in Iraq, the deadliest day since American forces began the liberation.
Are they actually "fighting for our freedom"?
These brave Americans gave up their dreams so our children can realize theirs.
Copyright ©2005TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. d.b.a. News 8 Austin
I'll leave the rest of the speech to the curious.