Politics & Government

Perry says Texas government must have fiscal discipline

FORT WORTH — In the shadow of what he calls a "runaway" government in Washington, Republican Gov. Rick Perry revived his call Wednesday for increased fiscal discipline back home in Texas.

While standing in M.L. Leddy's boot and saddle store near the Stockyards, he said the way to help do that is to have the Legislature and then voters pass two constitutional amendments to limit spending and tax hikes and create a statewide inspector general's office.

"When government resorts to expanding programs that pile up debt on future generations or throttling economic growth by raising taxes, everyday citizens pay the price," Perry said during a re-election campaign stop in Fort Worth.

Perry made his proposals as he faces his toughest primary challenge as governor, from his chief opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, whom he continues to label a Washington insider. Businesswoman Debra Medina is also running for the GOP nomination.

His proposals, which would go before the Legislature in 2011 for approval, are a rehash, Hutchison's campaign said Wednesday.

"Rick Perry is trying to pull a fast one on Texans by recycling a budget reform proposal he first made in 2006 but then never implemented or cared to pursue," said Joe Pounder, a Hutchison spokesman. "Texans are tired of politicians like Rick Perry who say one thing in an election year but then increases spending, doubles the state debt and expands the size of government.

"If Rick Perry failed to fulfill his campaign promise in 2006, how can he expect Texans to trust him in 2010 when he makes the exact same promise?"

Medina dismissed Perry's proposal as "theatrics." Texas Republicans have long been for limited government, she said, but "after nine years under Perry’s leadership, Texans find ourselves owing more fees and taxes and as a state $31 billion in debt, and ever more dependent on Washington, D.C."

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