Tuesday, June 21, 2011

While Texas Kids Go Hungry, Rick Perry Lives Large On Taxpayers' Dime


Child poverty is rising sharply in Texas. But while Texas kids go hungry, Gov. Rick Perry is living a lavish lifestyle on the taxpayers' dime.

Since 2000 (the year Perry became governor) the number of Texas children living in poverty has climbed 17 percent, even as the state has gutted spending on programs for kids. Currently, an astonishing 1 in 4 Texas children lives in poverty. The infant mortality rate is also up 10 percent since 2000.

Like George W. Bush before him, Perry demands steep sacrifices from ordinary working people---while living a luxurious taxpayer-funded lifestyle.

Take Perry's mansion, for example. While Texas is facing an eye-popping $27 billion deficit, Perry is spending $9,000 per month in taxpayer's money to live in one of Austin's most upscale estates.

When the Texas governor's mansion was damaged in a 2008 fire, Perry looked around for another place to live. With the state in financial meltdown, one might think Perry would have shown a little restraint in picking his new digs.

But no such luck. In fact, as of May 2010, Perry, according to AP, had already spent nearly $600,000 in tax dollars living in a lavish 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom sprawling rental mansion the previous two years.

As AP noted, Perry's mansion is 6,386 square feet and sits on more than three acres in the hills overlooking the Texas capitol.

Here's what Perry has been spending with our tax dollars:

  • A 6,386-square-foot rental property that sits on more than three acres and was advertised in 2007 for sale at $1.85 million.
  • $18,000 for household supplies and cleaning products.
  • $1,001 in window coverings from upscale retailer Neiman Marcus.
  • $1,000 for "emergency repair" of the governor's filtered ice machine
  • A $700 clothes rack.
  • A $56,000 stipend for food and beverages.
  • Maintenance on the heated pool has cost taxpayers at least $8,400.
  • The tab for grounds and lawn maintenance has topped $44,000.

Of course, none of this comes out of Perry's own taxpayer-funded salary, which is $150,000 per year.

While Perry spends our tax dollars generously on himself, the state of Texas is sinking into an ocean of red ink. The state's deficit is one of the largest of any state and puts it in the same league as California and other states facing fiscal meltdowns.

Even though Perry is living like a king, he still demands extreme sacrifice and fiscal restraint from the rest of us. And, of course, poor people rank at the top of Perry's list among those who should "sacrifice."

For example, despite rising child poverty, Texas ranks dead last among the 50 states in its extremely miserly and Scrooge-like food stamp program.

As the Houston Chronicle noted:

Texas does not have enough workers to process food stamp applications and is one of only three states that fingerprints applicants for food assistance. The state also imposes a time-consuming and complicated assets test that impedes the effort to help desperate and hungry people, Concannon said.

As Democratic state Senator Eliot Shapleigh noted in his "Texas on the Brink" report, it's a wonder that Texas has a budget deficit at all, considering how meager the state's programs are. Texas has abysmal rankings on just about every quality of life issue that exists for working people.

Here's how Texas ranks, in comparison with the other 49 states:

  • Progressivity of Tax Revenues: 44th.
  • Average Teacher Salary As A Percentage of Average Annual Pay: 49th.
  • State Aid Per Pupil in Average Daily Attendance: 47th.
  • Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Scores: 46th.
  • Percent of Population 25 and Older with a High School Diploma: 50th
  • Percent of the Population Without Health Insurance: 1st.
  • Percent of the Population with Employer Based Health Insurance: 46th.
  • Percent of Uninsured Children: 1st.
  • Air Pollution Emissions: 1st.
  • Rate of Incarceration: 2nd.

If Perry is elected president in 2012, we can expect a big, hefty dose of his "screw the working class" policies to be implemented at a national level. Perry is nothing less than Bush on steroids. If you think America is increasingly Third World-like now, you ain't seen nothing yet.


Jack Jodell said...

This is a great expose on one of the most egotistical, loudmouthed, ignorant liars in politics today. What a total Pharisee! Rick Perry can go straight to hell. His pal Lucifer will welcome him with open arms there!

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Jack, thanks for your comment.
You know, of all the luxuries Perry has treated himself on the taxpayers' dime, I'd have to say the most outrageous is this billing for $1,000 for "emergency repair" of the governor's filtered ice machine.
I've never heard of a "filtered" ice machine. And I've never heard of an "emergency" repair for an ice machine. Couldn't Perry have contented himself with some chilled Perrier until the repair person could arrive during normal business hours?
The rich really are different from you and me. They live in a different world than anything we can fathom.

Anonymous said...

But he has great hair....Isn't that what the people REALLY want..

Anonymous said...

But he has "good hair." :-) God I miss Molly Ivins! She'd be having a field day with everything going on these days leading up to the 2012 elections.

Wild Clover said...

Even working in a restaurant, we would just go and buy some bags of ice. And bagged ice is made with filtered water. Sounds like his arrogance Perry needed a cold drink and his ice maker quit, and he probably took it as a personal affront that ice wasn't available. Now, if the water line busted, and the mansion was flooding, there might be some justification, though turning off the water is a cheaper,more immediate solution.

Republicans apparently had their development arrested when they were 2. If they can't have it, and have it all,and have it NOW,they cry. Most (thankfully,my kids were exceptions) two year olds have little empathy, love the word NO,and really want control over the universe. They don't understand long term consequences, or the concept of compromise. The world is black and white,and no one should ever break a promise to them- their promises are different. Happily,most children grow out of this, a few,if taught very very young and consistently are not nearly as self centered. What to do with actual adults who are still in this stage is the problem.

Jacobus 323 said...

On top of all that, there are rumors of homosexuality. I kinda doubt it, though. He doesn't have any Judy Garland albums.

freba91 said...

Gov.Rick Perry takes one Dollar a
month from our electric bill to
help the poor pay AC bills.Perry
stole the money to balance the State
Budget.we have had 14 to die from
the heat in Dallas alone.

Reba Latimer said...

Elmer Gantry Perry !!!