Perry's State of the State Address Commented Upon by Peter Stern


Perry's State of the State Address Commented Upon by Peter Stern

7 February 2007 at 8:44:20 AM

from the inimitable Peter Stern of Dripping Springs

There's the State-of-the-State Address and then there's the REALITY

Perry deviates from reality.  Let's look at a few of his accolades:
"The economy is growing and government revenues are on the rise.  Our state surplus is larger than ever just four years removed from our largest shortfall ever."  Of course government revenues are on the rise.  Texas taxpayers overpaid their taxes by $14 million, while our elected officials have enabled agencies e.g., TxDOT to hold onto tax dollars and collect interest instead of using them to build and maintain quality Texas roadways more quickly.  Instead our government revenues are increasing more because many tax dollars are diverted from their original intent.  Shouldn't the state return the overpaid taxes instead of diverting them to privatize the Texas Lottery?
"Frivolous lawsuits are down, as are insurance rates for homeowners."  Yes, "frivolous" lawsuits are down because the governor and officials wanted to protect the medical industry who are wealthy campaign contributors.  Insurance rates may be down, but premiums generally are not!  Some premiums have decreased slightly but so did coverage.  No homeowner received the 12 percent return on their coverage they were promised 2 years ago by the governor, and Department of Insurance.
"School funding, teacher pay and classroom achievement are all up.  More Texans have a job than ever before, and more own a home --- a trend that is unlikely to change because you had the wisdom to cut school property taxes by 33 percent last year."  School financing has been diverted slightly from one source to another.  Teachers were provided slight salary increases, which return a part of the teacher benefits taken away several years ago by the governor and legislators.  Property taxes have not yet been cut, in fact, most property taxes rose by approximately 5 percent last year.  The truth about employment is that more Texans had jobs due to seasonal adjustments.  Also unemployment statistics don't include those unemployed who no longer eligible to collect unemployment insurance because they have been out of work longer than regulations permit.
"Our state is building roads faster than any state in the nation."  The governor neglected to state that these are toll roads collecting toll taxes and that 80-percent off-the-top of toll revenues collected go to CINTRA/Zachry Construction partners who enjoy a 70-year contract with the state to collect revenue, build and operate the toll roads.  While it's true toll roads are being built faster than conventional roadways, the long-term costs to Texas taxpayers is overwhelming and will be past on to several generations before they may be paid off --- if ever.
"Many live in families without a college education or even a high school degree."  Yes, and this especially is true because of how the governor and state have mandated the education system.  Ten years ago the state paid directly 80 percent to financing public education, which is its state constitutional responsibility.  Currently the state pays 20 percent, which is the reason that homeowners have been overburdened by astronomical property taxes and yearly home value increases.  The state wants teachers to get children to pass TAKS exams to show success; for that effort the state incentive plan will reward the teachers.  Children continue to "fall through the cracks" because they are not learning.  Also, many must go to work instead to provide income to their families during these difficult times.  Gov. Perry and officials fought hard to deregulate higher education, which immediately increased the tuition 3 times since the measure was approved.
All in all, Governor Perry lives in a different Texas than most of us.  The cost of living escalates weekly and so many people simply are trying to survive these times.
For the past 5 years of his reign, Gov. Perry has been silent watching in the background a Texas Congress that could not work together to pass bills for the community good; however, he did jump into the fray to "twist some arms" when it involved an issue important to Perry's wealthy campaign contributors.
One question:   How many Texas governors were reelected into office with only 39 percent of the total vote?   One answer:  NONE!
As our supreme dictator, Perry now is mandating all 6-grade girls to have vaccinations against HPV.  He tries to make it appear that he's concerned about the health and welfare of girls, but in actuality he again is pushing a special interest for his wealthy campaign contributors, Merck, etc.
Honestly speaking, it takes boys AND girls to be involved sexually for HPV to emerge.  Why isn't the governor concerned about the boys? 
It is a medical fact that vaccinated girls still need cervical cancer screening.  Three reasons: First, the vaccine will NOT protect against all types of HPV that cause cervical cancer, so vaccinated girls will still be at risk for some. Second, some girls may not get all required doses of vaccine or not get them at the right times, so they may not get the vaccine’s full benefits. Third, girls may not get the full benefit of the vaccine if they receive it after they’ve already acquired one of the four HPV types.  Lastly, if girls go for PAP-smears and examinations at regular intervals, the possibility of contacting HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases and infections are greatly reduced.
Governor Perry actively is trying to make his mark in the political arena.  It may be that he's looking at a 2008 position in Washington D.C.   If so, we can wish him luck --- but NOT at the expense of Texas taxpayers and our children.  Whatever it takes we must fight Perry for what is right in the interests of the whole community.

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