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Real News': State Surplus Vs. Federal Spending


Texas Governor Rick Perry is in the news again as he recently singled out another potential 2016 White House contender during a speaking event at the Texas Public Policy Foundation Thursday, where the Republican governor lauded his state's $8.8 billion surplus two years removed from a $27 billion deficit.

“I’m sure that I couldn’t get all 49 other governors to admit that they would want to be Texans,” AP reports Perry said. “I’m thinking that Gov. Cuomo would not admit that he’d want to be a Texan.”

“But if he were truthful, you could say that the economic climate that has allowed the state to grow and create jobs," Perry said. "He’d dearly love to be able to stand up and say, ‘We did this in New York.’ But he can’t.”

Texas, along with states like Indiana, Michigan, Florida and Iowa, are all in the enviable position of looking at billions in surplus. But what to do with this extra cash?

The New York Times reports that a contentious debate has taken off in Texas on what to do with this extra surprlus.

Republican and Democratic members of the State House and Senate have offered competing visions of how to use the surplus and how the state should respond to rapid population growth, severe drought, the federal health care overhaul and a host of other issues.

Education advocates and Democratic lawmakers have called for the Legislature to restore some or all of the $5.4 billion cuts made to public education in the 2011 session. But Republican leaders and other fiscal conservatives have expressed reluctance to finance anything beyond growth in student enrollment particularly when a lawsuit against the state over how it finances public education will not be resolved until later in the year.

The Times reports that Perry has argued that lawmakers get behind his Texas Budget Compact, a pledge to oppose new taxes and to replace the current spending limit for the state budget with an even stricter formula.

On 'Real News' Friday the panel discussed the budget surplus in several states, why the federal government can't replicate such success, and what governments should do when they face a surplus. Watch a clip below:

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