Texas governor Rick Perry likes to brag about his state’s economic successes since he’s been governor. This year, he said, “We passed a balanced budget while maintaining essential services, kept taxes low and preserved more than $6 billion in our Rainy Day Fund.”
It would be nice if Perry were telling the whole truth. But where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire, and right now, millions of acres of Texas are burning. And although this year has been one of the worst years for wild fires in the state’s entire history, this is also the year that Perry chose to cut millions of dollars to the state’s firefighting budget, leaving fire departments so strapped that Texas firefighters are actually paying for gear and supplies with their own money—when they’re not having to literally fight fires in their street clothes. And rather than re-allocating state funds to help rescue Texas from the flames, Perry has asked the federal government to step in and save his butt.
In a state strapped with a large budget shortfall, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed off on a budget that cut the volunteer fire department grant program from $23 million to $7 million for the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1. But as the fires raged on, Perry insisted that the Obama administration declare Texas a disaster area so the Lone Star State could receive federal emergency funds.
That’s right. While Perry talks a good game on the presidential campaign trail about how states need to take care of themselves in times of crisis, he’d like a great big exception to be made for his state. He messed up hugely, and would like us all to chip in to make up for it.
It’s not just bad luck, either. This is characteristic of the way Perry handles things as a politician. His own economic policies actually create the budget crises that he then asks for additional resources to solve, and then takes credit for solving. This is not fiscal responsibility; it’s hypocritical politics.