Friday, January 11, 2013

Straus versus Perry

The opening of the biennial Texas legislative session featured two speeches that could influence what issues the legislature focuses on. Paul Burka of The Texas Monthly highlights the tension between those two speeches.

After the jump, my own take.

First there's Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who called on the legislature to ensure Texans have (in Burka's words), "quality education, a reliable water supply, a healthy transportation system, and an honest state budget." Straus didn't say it, so I will. Achieving this requires increased state spending.

Then there's Governor Rick Perry, who promoted a constitutional limit on spending, tax relief, drug testing recipients of unemployment benefits, and a tighter abortion ban. In other words, a few distractions to please his base and fiscal roadblocks to doing anything about the issues Straus identified.

Texas's future hinges on whether Governor Rick Perry has been weakened enough ("Oops") for Speaker Joe Straus and the legislature to do something about the state's biggest issues in spite of Perry's opposition. Pop some corn. Things could get interesting in Austin.

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