Sherry Kofler had a ten-minute live interview with Perry today. It is on the KERA Web site here. All of Kofler’s questions pertained to the budget. The most important part of the interview was when Kofler asked, “Can you assure public school educators that our education budget will not be cut?” Perry’s response: “Yeah, I think so.”
Perry also said about the reported shortfall, “What I don’t do is wring my hands and squall to the top of my lungs that we are going to have to raise a personal income tax or raise taxes, because I don’t believe that. The choices are pretty simple. Are you going to reduce spending, or are you going to raise taxes. We’re going to reduce spending if I am the governor.”
Perry disputed reports of an $18 billion shortfall and said he was using Steve Ogden’s estimate of a $10-$11 billion budget hole.
Kofler said, “You take pride in having a lean state budget. It was lean coming out of the last session. It’s lean going into this one, with a looming gap in funding.”
Perry’s response: “There are a lot of pundits who consider themselves to be experts who say that we have a lean state budget in Texas. I don’t necessarily agree that the Texas budget is all that lean. I think we have an appropriate budget in Texas from the standpoint of the services that the vast number of Texans want, and I do not buy into the premise that you cannot reduce the budget and have a state that functions.”