Melissa Clouthier’s Wednesday post on the widely read conservative blog took Rick Perry and Texas Republicans to task for being soft on budget cuts and the use of the Rainy Day Fund: Texas enjoys a super-majority Republican status. As a friend pointed out to me, if Texas Republicans wanted to wholesale rewrite the Texas constitution with nary a Democrat involved, they could do it. And yet, Texas Republicans facing a budget shortfall are turning into collective addled mush. Tough decisions need to be made to balance the budget. The Republicans don’t want to make them, which leads to Republican governor Rick Perry reversing himself on the use of the Rainy Day Fund, Texas Governor Rick Perry admitted on Tuesday [March 15] that the state will have to use about a third of its rainy day fund to close a budget deficit this year, abandoning his stance that the fund should not be used. It is not every day that I get a chance to defend Rick Perry, so I had better take advantage of the opportunity. What Clouthier and RedState fail to understand is that under Texas’s pay-as-you-go system, the state must balance its accounts by the end of the fiscal year on August 31. Aside from several hundred million dollars in increased sales tax receipts, the state has no resources with which to pay its bills except for the Rainy Day Fund. If Perry had not agreed to allow $3.2 billion of the $9.4 billion fund to be used, there would have been some very embarrassing headlines on September 1, like: “Texas Too Broke to Pay Its Bills” or “State’s Credit Rating Collapses.” Perry had no choice but to allow budget writers to tap the Rainy Day Fund. If Republican lawmakers choose to follow Clouthier’s advice to “grow a spine” and fight the use of the Rainy Day Fund, Texas will face chaos at the end of the fiscal year. This is the danger of spouting ideological nonsense about something of which she is ignorant–the mandates of the Texas Constitution. Rick Perry did the right thing. As for Ms. Clouthier: Grow a brain.
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