The preliminary budget proposals drafted in the Texas Legislature are marked with hypocrisy that occurs when one political party is dominant over the other party. In Texas, Republicans have dominated the executive, judicial and legislative branches for almost two decades.
The House and Senate draft budgets make no cuts to the salaries of Texas' statewide elected officials — all Republicans — and the leaders of the state's largest agencies, including the Texas Education Agency, the department of Health and Human Services, and the departments of Aging and Disability Services and Family Protective Services.
Most people have already heard that Texas is broke. The Comptroller estimated a budget deficit of $27 billion and articles are already appearing in newspapers around the state that indicate the number of teachers to be cut, the closing of community colleges, the loss of financial aid loans and grants for college students and various other cuts. Governor Rick Perry has already asked all state agencies to prepare their budgets to include a 10% cut from the previous budget.
The Legislature has the constitutional duty to mark up the preliminary budgets, but Governor Perry has been noticeably silent when he should be saying, "Take 10 percent off my salary"! He also has not asked his political appointees at the various state agencies or the judges on our highest courts to take a pay cut or decline the state-paid health insurance that they receive. On a personal note, it wouldn’t bother me if they actually resigned instead because of their anti-government views anyway.
As governor, Perry is paid $150,000 annually, the same salary paid to Attorney General Greg Abbott, Comptroller Susan Combs and 16 of the state's 18 judges on the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals. The chief justice of the Supreme Court and presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals make $152,500.
State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones, Michael Williams and David Porter all make $137,500.
All of these government officials, who are also Republican, should share in the sacrifice that they are asking from all other Texans as the budget is cut.
Where is the voice of Governor Perry?
For that matter, where is the voice of the Tea Party?
Answer: NOWHERE! Oh, the hypocrisy.