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Reason Foundation

Some Perspective on Perry and Texas Jobs and Taxes

Adrian Moore
August 23, 2011, 2:44pm

My colleague Shikha writes in The Daily:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry electrified liberal and conservative pundits by entering the GOP presidential primary. But both will be disappointed. Liberals because Perry’s economic record — his main selling point — is more defensible than they want to believe, and conservatives because it is less than they do. He attributes the job spurt to his commitment to low taxes, business-friendly regulations, controlling government spending and tort reform. His liberal detractors credit the sun, the moon and the tides.

. . .

The inconvenient truth is that the jobs boom in Texas has something to do with its being No. 1 in ease of doing business — and the job bust in California has a great deal to do with it being last.

. . .

Still, for the 11 years Perry has been in office, overall government spending has gone up by 4.2 percent every two years, compared with 2.3 percent under George W. Bush, after controlling for inflation and population growth. Perry’s supporters dismiss that comparison, noting that nearly half of this spending is tied up in federal programs he can’t control. The general revenue spending that he does control, they claim, has gone down for the first time since World War II.

But if Texas has lost control over its budget, the blame lies with Perry — and his Republican legislature — both of whom have aggressively scavenged for federal grant dollars. Indeed, Perry has habitually touted the great subsidies he has extracted from Uncle Sam for state programs ranging from homeland security to disaster relief.


Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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