Rick Perry Won’t Answer Voter When Respectfully Asked Why Texas Debt Is Up 184.2% On His Watch

By Gary P Jackson

What happens when a college student respectfully questions Rick Perry on his record:

What I asked Governor Perry was “Considering state debt has nearly tripled and spending has increased by two thirds since you were governor, and also that ACORN considered your help their ‘proudest moment,’ what were the differences between him and the current liberal president?” As you can see, he immediately tried to excuse away the numbers.

~ Drew Hjelm

This is completely unacceptable.

The real Rick Perry showed himself when a student in Iowa and why Texas’ debt has tripled on his watch. Perry, who claims to be a fiscal hawk, has a record that says something quite different. Debt is up 184.2% since Perry took office.

Drew Hjelm the young man who talked to Perry tells his story:

What I asked Governor Perry was “Considering state debt has nearly tripled and spending has increased by two thirds since you were governor, and also that ACORN considered your help their ‘proudest moment,’ what were the differences between him and the current liberal president?” As you can see, he immediately tried to excuse away the numbers.

I found the debt numbers at Politifact from Bill White, who quotes the Texas Bond Review Board. I asked Perry about the raw numbers, which show that in 2000 Texas state debt was $13.7B, and by 2009 that number had grown to over $34B (Mitchell Schnurman found more recent numbers for 2010: $37B.). Bill White at Politifact adjusted for inflation and found the debt merely doubled under Perry.

Perry’s record on spending can be found at Texas Budget Source. In 2000 when Perry took over, Texas spending was $49.7B and the latest numbers the site has available show that spending was $82.1B, a 67% increase. Adjusting for inflation and population growth, the growth in the size of the Texas government during his time as governor is a paltry 36%.

Finally, I found that Perry had good friends in ACORN, a community organization that Republicans love to hate. In 2006, Perry signed into law a bill which benefited low-income homeowners. ACORN called this their “proudest moment.” When Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson opposed funding ACORN in 2007, he attacked her.

This brings me full circle back to my question, what are the differences between him and the current liberal president? The Republicans love to attack President Obama for being a tax and spend liberal, being friends with all sorts of liberal organizations, and so on. Governor Perry’s record shows that he isn’t much different than President Obama, and he didn’t want to comment on this. His campaign website spouts platitudes about a record of cutting spending, which don’t jive with the numbers.

Read more here.

Hjelm is a little off on his calculation, using numbers all of the way back to 2000, which was still Governor Bush’s budget. Perry didn’t have budgetary authority until FY2002. Whitney Pitcher took a hard look at the record of all five Governors who were potential presidential nominees, Huntsman, Palin, Pawlenty, Perry, and Romney.

Rick Perry is in a whole class by himself on this deal. Anyway you slice it, debt has grown at an average of just over 20% a year since Perry has been in office.Roughly double that of Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, and more than five times that of  Governors Jon Huntsman and Sarah Palin:

During the fiscal years for which Sarah Palin exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Alaska (FY08 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 12.7%, or 4.2% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 7.4%, or 2.5% per year

• Total liabilities decreased 34.6%, or 11.5% per year

• Total liabilities per capita decreased 37.7%, or 12.6% per year

During the fiscal years for which Jon Huntsman exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Utah (FY06 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 21.0%, or 4.2% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 6.8%, or 1.4% per year

• Total liabilities increased 41.1%, or 8.2% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 24.5%, or 4.9% per year

During the fiscal years for which Tim Pawlenty exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Minnesota (FY04 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 66.0%, or 9.4% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 58.5%, or 8.4% per year

• Total liabilities increased 40.7%, or 5.8% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 34.3%, or 4.9% per year

During the fiscal years for which Mitt Romney exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Massachusetts (FY04 through FY07)

• Debt outstanding increased 44.3%, or 11.1% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 43.3%, or 10.8% per year

• Total liabilities increased 19.5%, or 4.9% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 18.7%, or 4.7% per year

During the fiscal years for which Rick Perry exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Texas (FY02 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 184.2%, or 20.5% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 140.4%, or 15.6% per year

• Total liabilities increased 60.6%, or 6.7% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 35.8%, or 4.0% per year

Even Mitt Romney looks like a serious fiscal hawk compared to Rick Perry!

I have several problems with this situation. One, the student asked a legitimate question of Perry, and was nice about it. For Perry to blow him off like that, and call him a liar is unacceptable. But it is typical Rick Perry.

During the 2006 gubernatorial election, Perry was neck deep in the Trans-Texas Corridor fiasco. The people who would have been effected by this half-million acre land grab weren’t exactly pleased. The Blackland Coalition hosted several events including candidate forums. Perry refused to attend any of them and answer the public directly about this theft of land and the crony capitalism involved. We heard from all of the other candidates, even democrat Chris Bell. [Note, a democrat hasn’t been elected to statewide office in almost two decades.]

This is how Rick Perry operates. Texans know this well. The rest of the nation better find out and find out fast.

Something else to think about. It’s accepted fact among Conservatives that nominating Mitt Romney would be a disaster [on many levels] mainly because it takes ObamaCare discussions off the table. It’s hard for Romney to credibly take on Obama over this since Mitt is the father of socialized medicine in America, and his plan served as the blueprint for ObamaCare.

The question America has to ask itself is how can Rick Perry can credibly take on Obama over his massive debt creation, when under his watch debt in Texas has tripled? The Obama regime will be on that like white on rice.You can take that to the bank!

My biggest fear is Conservatives will listen to Perry’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, and not look at his actual record as Governor of Texas. While Texas is certainly doing better than the rest of the country, Perry inherited a state from George W Bush that was already business friendly and free of the tax policies and draconian regulations that make it hard to succeed. Texas was already the greatest place on earth! While it still looks good today, under the surface there are some serious fiscal issues that are about to boil over.

Caveat emptor.

7 Comments

Filed under In The News, Politics

7 responses to “Rick Perry Won’t Answer Voter When Respectfully Asked Why Texas Debt Is Up 184.2% On His Watch

  1. I”m not a fan of Rick Perry and definitely don’t want him as the nominee but in all fairness he started to talk and the kid cut him off. Let him finish and then dispute him. I don’t know anybody who’s would engage in debate when they get cut off.

    • Gary P

      I have to disagree. They were engaged in what most people would call a normal give and take conversation. Perry simply didn’t want to answer a legit question. Then Slick Rick came back and called him a liar for good measure.

      This is who Rick Perry is.

  2. Joy

    Glad that student got in his face – and I hope he’s not the last to call out Perry on his spending while Governor! In fact, let him DARE to tell Sarah Palin what he told that student – LOL!! She’d have him for lunch!!

    • Gary P

      Yeah, if he tried that with Sarah it wouldn’t end well at all. I’ve seen Sarah debate. On her own, and coached by the morons who ran McCain’s campaign. She destroyed a sitting Governor who had been a long time senator, and whipped up o a former democrat governor. Made it look effortless.

      I’ve seen Perry debate as well. Not pretty to watch.

      It really troubles me that many so-called conservatives are not only failing to vet this guy, but his supporters act like it’s some sort of “hate crime” if one tries!

  3. Richard

    It’s too bad the kid didn’t let Perry complete his answer. It kind of pulls the rug out from under him when he complains Perry didn’t answer. Perry did brush him off, but the kid gave Perry the opportunity to get by with it when he interrupted him.

  4. Pingback: 2011 Republican Primary race « RWHenry's Blog

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