It seems like only yesterday that the hopes of a nation were set aflame by too-good-to-be-true rumors that secession may be in the near future for that ungainly chunk of America’s underbelly commonly referred to as Texas (the City of Austin notwithstanding, which should be partitioned and bisected not unlike the Berlin of old – in the days before Reagan toppled the wall with forceful words that he totally meant which can pretty much achieve anything in the realm of foreign policy) .
At the time, Governor Rick Perry was all in a snit because the federal government was interfering in sovereign state business by threatening to shovel loads of stimulus cash Texas’s way, with equally nefarious plots to extend unemployment benefits and increase health insurance coverage for that State’s put-upon citizens. So, to shield Texas’s chastity from such lascivious liberal degradation, he was going to call the whole “union” thing off.
My friends, prepare to be disappointed:
Back when the economic recovery package (i.e. “the stimulus”) was being debated, a handful of Republican governors garnered headlines by rejecting various portions of the funding. One of the loudest critics of the legislation was Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).
At the time, Perry said rejecting the money “was pretty simple for us. … We can take care of ourselves.” “I am so concerned about the belief that has gained a foothold in our national consciousness that the best and only way to solve our nation’s problems is to drown them with taxpayer dollars,” Perry also said, adding that, with regard to the stimulus, Texas should “look a gift horse in the mouth.”
The Texas state legislature eventually pushed Perry to accept the money, but even in his official acceptance letter, Perry wrote that “I believe there are better ways to reinvigorate our economy and believe [the bill] will burden future generations with unprecedented levels of debt.” However, as the Wall Street Journal noted this morning, the stimulus is the reason that Texas currently has a balanced budget:
[T]he economic downturn is catching up with Texas. Sales-tax revenue started falling in February 2009 compared with the previous year, and only started to recover a bit in April of this year. Although Mr. Perry has railed against the federal economic-stimulus program, billions of dollars from that initiative helped Texas legislators balance the current budget.
Texas faces an $18 billion shortfall in its next two-year budget, which amounts to 20 percent of the total. And Perry’s refusal to consider tax increases is setting the state up for draconian cuts. “There is no way that they will be able to come up with $18 billion in cuts,” said Eva DeLuna Castro, a senior budget analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “They would have to shut down our prison system.”
We’re never gonna get this guy off our collective federal teet now. But wait. What if he just tries out some of those “better ways to reinvigorate the economy,” and then is all like, “later, commies, we’re off to celebrate our libertarian paradise (with free market discrimination) with all the extra cash that I just created by abolishing taxes and all government regulations.”
What? It could happen.