National Issues

Hutchison Chases Texas Right

November 18, 2009

The Wall Street Journal

MIGUEL BUSTILLO

Senator Trumpets Cheney's Support in Governor's Race, but Perry Calls Her D.C. Choice

HOUSTON -- Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison may have won the backing of former Vice President Dick Cheney in her race for Texas governor, a key endorsement for a candidate seeking conservative support. But her drive to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry remains an uphill battle.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, above, in August announcing her candidacy to unseat Gov. Rick Perry, who is seen below with Texas Rangers in October.

Ms. Hutchison, one of the Lone Star State's most popular politicians, was expected to mount a formidable challenge to Mr. Perry in one of the long-anticipated GOP primary battles of next year's elections. The GOP winner is an overwhelming favorite to be the next governor in this Republican state.

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But Mr. Perry has built a large lead in polls with less than four months to go to the March 2 primary. In part, he has scored points using what's shaping up as a popular strategy for many candidates during this election cycle, with rhetoric portraying Ms. Hutchison as a Washington insider out of touch with down-home Texans. He also has accused her of waffling on a pledge to resign from her Senate seat, which she had initially said she would do in October or November.

"It really does appear that it is slipping away for her," said Calvin Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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The battle between Texas and Washington for Ms. Hutchison's time and attention has been one obstacle for the senator. She even had trouble attending her own rally with Mr. Cheney here Tuesday because she was voting on a military spending bill in Washington. That forced a two-hour postponement of her arrival.

A Rasmussen poll of GOP primary voters last week showed Ms. Hutchison trailing Mr. Perry by 11 percentage points, in large part because of soft support among social conservatives. The survey involved 798 participants and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%.

A similar survey last month by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune online news site found Ms. Hutchison 12 points behind Mr. Perry, who first took office in 2000 and is already the state's longest-serving governor. The poll had 800 participants and had a margin of error of 3.46%.

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Splitting her time between Texas and Washington has been "a deadly mistake," said Royal Masset, a GOP political consultant in Austin who is not working for either side. "This could not have been more perfectly set up for Rick Perry," Mr. Masset said. "This election is coming at just the right time for him, when there is this fear of socialism among some Republicans based on what is happening in Washington, and she is seen, fairly or not, as part of that Washington establishment."

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Gov. Perry: Have courage to fight bills

November 18, 2009

McKinney Courier-Gazette

Brian Bearden

Gov. Perry wants Texans to have courage to fight against bills pushed by Congress

Packed house in Collin County warned that Obama's policies would be disaster

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said there’s a reason that Barack Obama is president and the Democrats control the Congress.

“Before the last election, there were too many Republicans who were elected that went to Washington and acted like a Democrat.”

Perry, who made no mention of his Republican opponent in the governor's race, told a packed Monday afternoon gathering at Collin County Republican Party headquarters on Stacy Road in McKinney that citizens and voters need to be engaged, go to Tea Party rallies, attend Town Halls, write their representatives and battle for what they believe in everyday.

Perry said the reason the president’s health care bill has not passed is because so many turned out across the country at town hall meetings in August.

Perry said that although Democrats say the overflow town halls meetings were fake “Astroturf” and not actual grass-roots efforts, the movement is real.

“You better believe it is real,” Perry said. “Harry Reid and the Democrats may say it is not, but the Senate would not have voted down the public option if it was not real. We need to be engaged. It is our responsibility.”

Perry, who was not met with any protests during his talk, was asked if he required a teleprompter to give his speech. Perry said no thank you.

Perry said voters need to beware of the Cap and Trade legislation being worked up on Capitol Hill.

“The health care bill the Democrats want will be a disaster,” Perry said. “The Cap and Trade bill will be a disaster to the Southern states and Texas in particular. The president himself has said that energy costs will skyrocket. Electric bills will go way up.

“Here is the sad part,” Perry said. “The administrator of the EPA herself has said that if passed it will not have a positive impact on the environment, but it will be a disaster for the United States.”

Perry said that America needs to return more power to the states, as advised by Justice Louis Brandeis, who said, “America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.”

Perry said let one state try health care or Cap and Trade first.

“If a state has an idea, it can try it out first,” Perry said.

The governor said more states might want to try lowering taxes.

“States should be the labatories of innovation,” Perry said. “I don’t think I could get the other 49 governors to admit that they want to be like Texas. ... at least publicly. ... but you better believe they would love to have the situation we have in Texas.”

Perry cited recent announcements by the governor of New York that it might be almost out of money, and California, where the Golden State is having problems.

Perry cautioned that Texas is also going through tough times along with the rest of the economy.

“You have to create jobs, and one of the ways to do that is not to over-regulate and tax them,” he said.

Perry cited Collin County has a place that’s struggling but moving forward. As thousands continue to move into Collin County, Perry told the group at Craig Ranch that David Craig was right.

“This used to be farms and fields,” Perry said. “He was right. They have to move somewhere.”

Perry said the way to get people to move in instead of leave is simple.

“In government after you take care of the basic necessities, you have to get out of the way and let the private sector do what it needs to do.”

Perry said that elected officials need to keep government off the backs of working people.

“There is a lack of courage in Washington, D.C.,” Perry said. “There is a lack of courage in a whole bunch of states where they didn’t say no to all the special interest groups.

“In Texas, we didn’t have a choice,” he said. “We got together and said, ‘If we are Republicans, then we are going to act like Republicans.”

Perry said the key to the economy rebounding comes down to jobs.

“I don’t make an apology for being a pro-jobs governor,” Perry said. “You can’t have the better schools, roads, processes and what have you unless you have the jobs. This is where you have to have the courage, have the vision and love for your state. ... Listen - if you can do it, it is not bragging.”

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Cash-Strapped States Turn to 'Millionaire's Tax

November 13, 2009

The Wall Street Journal

Arden Dale

The policy of raising state rates on the rich has failed before.

Through the early 1990s, several states maintained double-digit income-tax rates, but eventually brought them down partly because legislators realized they were driving out entrepreneurs. To keep good talent, create jobs and drive economic growth, state tax systems had to be competitive with their neighbors.

Mr. Weigandt said the issue of high rates comes up with his clients most often in the context of selling a business. The question then is "what can I do about my taxes," and it can be tempting to relocate when the answer is that the tax bill could be cut by as much as 40% by just changing residence to Florida, Texas, Washington, Wyoming or another state with low or zero personal income tax.

Picking up stakes needs careful thought and planning, though. States have gotten increasingly aggressive about tracking former residents and seeking taxes from them after they have moved.

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Perry: Washington Again Shortchanges Texas Communities on Disaster Funds

November 14, 2009

Montgomery County News

Gov. Rick Perry today criticized the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for telling Texans “there is no compelling need to immediately approve” the state’s application for continued Hurricanes Ike and Dolly recovery funding.

“HUDs comment is an insult to every Texan whose home or business was destroyed or damaged by hurricanes Ike or Dolly,” Gov. Perry said. “Hurricane Ike was the costliest storm in history to strike Texas, and this process should not stand in the way of assistance for disaster victims.”

The comment came in a letter from Assistant HUD Secretary Mercedes Marquez rejecting the state's application for the second round of funding for Hurricanes Ike and Dolly recovery. Texas received $1.3 billion in Round One funding and was slated to receive $1.7 billion in Round Two.

In rejecting the state’s application for a second allotment of hurricane recovery funds, HUD faulted the state plan for not specifying how it would distribute funding to units of local government, despite the 67-page plan’s detailed description of the formula used for allocating funds to Councils of Government (COGs).

“Clearly, it is lost on HUD officials that COGs are units of local government under Texas law, and the plan the state submitted discussed the COGs’ role,” Gov. Perry said. “Like other agencies in Washington these days, HUD overlooks the important role local governments play in formulating recovery efforts."

HUD also faults the state plan because COGs have not yet held public hearings. However, these concerns were never relayed to the state when HUD approved Round One funding for Texas in March 2009, or when it approved funding for Hurricane Rita recovery.

Gov. Perry said federal officials are playing politics with the funding decision because the letter from Marquez attempts to impose new policies and requirements that were never specified in guidelines on the Ike funding published in the Federal Register. For example, HUD criticizes the state for not providing “reasonable public notice,” although Texas officials hosted eight public hearings to help formulate the post-Ike recovery funding application.

HUD’s criticism also contradicts the citizen participation waiver notice in the Federal Register that “removes the requirement at both the grantee and state grant recipient levels for public hearings or meetings as the method for dissemination of information or collecting citizen comment.”

HUD also raised concerns about the state’s proposal to use some funds for projects that focus on mitigation of future disasters rather than “core recovery needs.” Again, HUDs criticism contradicts federal guidelines that encourage the state to undertake such projects to draw down additional federal dollars from the Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund.

HUD’s letter requires Texas to submit a revised plan within 45 days, but imposes additional public hearing requirements and the development of new fair housing plans that HUD admits will take months to complete.

“The request that Texas update its fair housing plan would delay recovery, especially since the federal guidance that Texas will use to update its fair housing practices is not expected to be published before February 2010,” Gov. Perry said. “Unless this is resolved soon, it will be Texans who will ultimately bear the brunt of the costs for recovery. Therefore, I also urge our Congressional delegation to make it clear to HUD that we will not stand for weeks and months of further delay. ”

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Milken Institute again ranks Midland No. 1 small metropolitan area

November 14, 2009

Midland Reporter-Telegram

Kathleen Thurber

Midland was ranked the No. 1 small metropolitan area by the Milken Institute this week, holding on to the top position it was given last year because of the success of its oil and gas economy.

"The 2009 Best-Performing Cities report for 2009 is validation of governance based on conservative principles and values," said Rep. Tom Craddick, in a statement. "In the Permian Basin, we promote sound economic policy and free-enterprise values on a daily basis."

The Milken Institute, a non-partisan policy think tank, compiled the rankings and noted Texas as having several high-rated cities because of its business climate. Austin was ranked the No. 1 larger metropolitan area, ahead of No. 2 Killeen-Temple. Odessa was No. 5 among smaller metropolitan areas.

Midland's high score came because the institute found its five-year and one-year job growth rate as well as its wage and salary growth rate were higher than other comparable areas.

The rankings are based on figures through 2008, and whether Texas and Midland will maintain its high marks when 2009 figures are examined remains to be seen.

Gov. Rick Perry's office credits the high rankings to the state's effort to keep taxes down, create a predictable regulatory climate and foster an education system that produces an educated workforce.

"When people across the nation look at Texas, they're discovering that we've fostered an environment that encourages people to pursue their dreams, build businesses and create jobs," Perry said, in a statement.

The report credits Texas as a whole because of its ability to attract jobs and companies from other states. And while the energy industry is a significant part of the state's high rank, Ross DeVol, senior economist at the Milken Institute and lead author of the report wrote that it also was rated well because of the state's effort to diversify by bringing in high-tech companies and attempting to create more research universities.

Craddick also credits the rankings to the state's decision to hold down spending, pass lawsuit reform and to establish a "rainy day fund," according to a release. For the state to see continual success, he said, similar conservative moves need to continue.

"Although Texas is relatively strong today, we will face critical challenges in the future. Our response to each of those challenges must be measured and guided by the same limited government, free market principles that have served Texas well." Craddick said, in a statement.

Texas rankings:

Larger metropolitan areas:

1. Austin-Round Rock

2. Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood

4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission

5. Houston-Sugarland

11. San Antonio

12. Fort Worth-Arlington

13. Dallas-Plano-Irving

14. El Paso

16. Corpus Christi

Small metropolitan areas:

1. Midland

2. Longview

4. Tyler

5. Odessa

14. College-Station/Bryan

17. Texarkana

18. Waco

20. Laredo

Read more: http://mywesttexas.com/articles/2009/11/14/news/top_sto...

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Report: Texas greenhouse gas emissions down

November 13, 2009

Washington Post

John McFarland

Environment Texas analyzed the most recent U.S. Department of Energy statistics that show the state is still the leader in carbon-dioxide emissions but cut such pollution by 2 percent between 2004 and 2007. In that same four-year period, emissions around the country went up 0.7 percent and increased in 33 states, according to the report.

"We can drive the economy without driving up pollution," said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. "By moving to clean energy, we can cut pollution, help jump-start the economy and create millions of new clean energy jobs around the country."

The group's analysis covered 2004-2007, but emissions in Texas actually began dropping in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Carbon dioxide emissions in the state have dropped 5 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Finding the balance between the environment and the economy is a constant struggle in Texas. The state relies heavily on the energy industry and has more coal-fired power plants, chemical plants and oil refineries than any other. And with a rapidly growing population, there's always need for more power.

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Texas To Reduce Federal Claims Backlog for Veterans in Waco and Houston

November 13, 2009

The Gov. Monitor

Gov. Rick Perry today announced his office will fund up to 12 new veterans counselors to expedite benefits claims for veterans.

The Governor’s Office funding will allow the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) to reduce the number of veterans’ claims pending at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regional offices in Waco and Houston.

“The backlog of claims at the VA is a national crisis, and it is especially bad in Texas. It is unacceptable that veterans have to wait extraordinary amounts of time to receive their federal benefits,” Gov. Perry said. “Just as Washington fails to provide adequate border security and disaster relief for our citizens, the federal government is once again falling short in one of its most important responsibilities, in this case taking care of our Texas military veterans. With our veterans in mind this week, I look forward to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs working with Texas to ensure our veterans can quickly access the help and support that was promised to them.”

The governor has directed TVC to create a new Claims Processing Assistance Team (CPAT) to help address the backlog of more than 39,000 pending disability and health benefit claims in Texas. The Waco regional office has over 18,000 pending claims with 35 percent pending for over four months while the Houston regional office has over 20,000 pending claims with 41 percent pending for over four months. CPAT will draw upon TVC’s expertise in helping veterans manage claims, and will work closely with the VA in all areas of the claims process to reduce the backlog.

“On behalf of my fellow veterans, I would like to express my appreciation to Gov. Perry for enabling the Texas Veterans Commission to establish this special claims processing assistance team for Houston and Waco,” TVC Chair Brigadier General Karen Rankin said. “Nothing is more important than ensuring Texas veterans do not experience delays in receiving much needed medical care and compensation for service connected disabilities.”

Claims backlogs delay decisions on veterans’ disability compensation and medical care, often causing physical and economic hardship for veterans and their families. For every month these claims are pending, TVC estimates a delay of nearly $37 million in payments to Texas veterans.

“While I am troubled that the federal government has not acted on the matter of expediting veterans’ claims, I am delighted that the governor has taken the initiative to assist our veterans in this serious matter,” Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock said. “I believe these funds will certainly improve the unacceptable wait times for our disabled veterans to receive their much needed support.”

TVC has a successful track record in special initiatives with the VA. In 2008, TVC and the VA participated in a pilot project that significantly reduced delays in claims processing, leading the VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. to instruct regional offices nationwide to adopt TVC’s claims processing methods as best practices.

For more information, please visit http://www.tvc.state.tx.us.

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Perry: Obama 'hell-bent' on socialism

November 11, 2009

POLITICO

Andy Barr

Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of “punishing” Texas and being “hell-bent” on turning the United States into a socialist country.

Speaking at a luncheon for a Midland County Republican Women’s group, Perry said that “this is an administration hell-bent toward taking American towards a socialist country. And we all don’t need to be afraid to say that because that’s what it is.”

Perry praised the tea party movement to the Republican activists in attendance, crediting the grassroots groups with discouraging some Democrats in Washington from pushing for a public option in the health care bill.

“If you all think those tea parties didn’t work, then let me tell you something,” Perry said. “When they all came home in August for those town hall meetings, they got an earful. Then they went back to Washington, D.C. and the Senate voted that public option down in committee with a majority of Democrats in the Senate.”

Perry also accused the Obama administration of intentionally dumping illegal immigrants from other western states in Texas, recalling a conversation he had with local officials notifying him that illegal aliens that were caught in Nogales, Arizona were being dropped off by federal authorities in Presidio, Texas.

“Friday a week ago, I got not a phone call from Washington, not a letter from Washington and as a matter of fact, I don’t think any member of our congressional delegation was even notified. The first time we were contacted was by the superintendent of the school and the county judge of Presidio County,” Perry said.

“They said, ‘do you all know what’s fixin’ to happen?’ I said, ‘well, no. What’s going on?’ They said ‘the government has just called us and said for us to get ready for an influx of illegal aliens who were captured illegally crossing the border.’”

“It’s called the alien transfer-and-exit program,” Perry told the crowd, “trucking them from Nogales, past El Paso down to our western border in Presidio.”

The Texas governor said he sees the action as “punishing this state” and urged the assembled Republicans to “stand up” to Washington.

“I say it’s time to make tea parties twice as big as what they were,” Perry declared. “I think it’s time for us to stand up and say to Washington, D.C. that we are no longer going to accept that kind of stuff sitting down and being quiet.”

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Perry criticizes cap-and-trade bill

November 10, 2009

Austin American-Statesman

Kirk Ladendorf

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday criticized pending carbon cap-and-trade environmental legislation in Congress as harmful to Texas and the rest of the country.

The legislation would cap emissions of carbon dioxide by utilities and other companies. But companies that came in below the limits would get credits; companies that emit more could buy those credits to exceed the caps.

"The cap-and-trade bill pending in Congress would essentially be the largest tax hike in the history of our country," Perry said at a renewable energy conference in Austin. "These energy taxes will cause every product that uses energy to become more expensive, forcing Texas families to shoulder substantial new costs and undercutting our state's economic strength."

A cap-and-trade proposal has passed the U.S. House and is pending in the Senate. The Obama administration backs the proposal as a way to use economic incentives to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses that are blamed for global warming.

Perry spoke to a conference organized by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association.

Instead of approaching the problem of greenhouse gases through mandates, Washington should learn from Texas, Perry said.

"In Texas, we are making tomorrow's energy more accessible by cultivating a job-friendly environment, offering incentives to make it more affordable, and then, basically, we are getting out of the way and letting the private sector do what the private sector does best."

Washington, by contrast, "generally relies on mandates, threats and strangling regulation," he said.

"They are proposing measures that will add thousand of dollars to every Texan's annual energy cost. I believe that they will kill thousands of jobs in our state and do nothing to improve the environment."

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More Great Endorsements For Governor Rick Perry!

More great news for Texans for Rick Perry just keeps coming in. The Texas Society of Anesthesiologists PAC today endorsed Governor Rick Perry for reelection.

Their endorsement comes on the heels of other big endorsements over the past several days, including the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Association of Builders, the Texas Association of Manufacturers, and the Texas Association of Realtors.


These groups and dozens of others have all given their support to Governor Rick Perry, because they know he is committed to keeping Texas growing and open for business. The Governor's steadfast dedication to limited government and free enterprise has helped Texas weather this economic storm better than the nation as a whole.

Add your endorsement at http://hq.rickperry.org, and be sure to get your friends and family involved in the Perry campaign!

Governor Rick Perry. Texas values. Proven leadership.

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