Perry Touts His “Four Principles” in Iowa
By Ben Philpott, KUT News and Texas Tribune
Texas Governor Rick Perry returns to Austin tonight, after two days of campaigning in Iowa. While there, Perry focused his message on jobs and touted his record of job creation in Texas.
Job numbers out today for Texas show the state lost 1,300 jobs in August and the unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent.
The governor hasn’t addressed those numbers yet. But while he made the rounds in Iowa, he pulled out some oft-repeated references to the Texas job boom. He also made much of what he, as governor, has done to promote a positive business climate in the state. At each stop, Perry’s pulled out what he’s called his four principles.
Principle number one: “First off, we didn’t spend all the money.”
Perry talked about his influence in getting the legislature to balance the state budget and leave around $6 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.
State lawmakers, of course, are bound by the state constitution to provide a balanced budget. The across-the-board cuts that ensued, in everything from public education to women’s health programs to mental health services and even the Texas forest service, created huge challenges and passed off much of the expense to local governments.
Republican budget writers have admitted much of the Rainy Day Fund will be spent on the current budget, but not until lawmakers return to Austin in 2013.
Principle number two: “Have a tax policy in place that doesn’t put undue burden on the job creators.”
The governor’s campaign literature highlights state tax cuts for small businesses and more than 60 bills he’s signed that have cut taxes.
Under the governor’s leadership, however, lawmakers expanded the state’s business tax to include more businesses.
Principle number three: “Have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable.”
The governor says this a lot as he attacks what he calls the federal government’s “one size fits all” regulations.
Principle number four: “Have a legal system in place that doesn’t allow for over-suing.”
Mr. Perry calls frivolous lawsuits “job killers.” As governor, he helped push through legislation to rewrite the rules of medical liability.
Conservatives call it “tort-reform” and Perry claims it led directly to 21,000 doctors moving to Texas. Although the Texas Medical Board has the number at closer to 13,000, a number that the fact-checkers at Politifact Texas found was in line with increases based on population growth alone, with or without fewer malpractice lawsuits.
So, in his presidential campaigning, the governor has been saying that through his four principles, Texas has created 40 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. since June of 2009. That’s true, though many point out that the types of jobs created haven’t been economy drivers.
“There are a lot more fast food outlets in Texas then there were 5 years ago,” said Don Baylor, with the Center for Public Policy Priorities. ”And so those jobs typically start at the bottom of the wage scale.”
Baylor also said population growth is behind most of the service sector job creation and an increase in the number of teachers, police and doctors in the state – jobs that pay better than the local McDonalds.
For now, these principles are great at grabbing headlines and revving up crowds. But eventually, Perry’s opponents will demand specifics and he’ll have to explain how he plans to turn the Texas job boom into one for America.