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The Texas budget and the stimulus – Perry and the GOP should be thanking the federal government

As you may, or many not know, GOP Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made this claim about the Texas budget in an Op-Ed last year, “So it’s simply political fiction that stimulus dollars were necessary to balance our budget.” And Democratic state Rep. Jim Dunnam took exception to that claim soon after in a rebuttal Op-Ed. Although Dewhust is technically correct, anyone living in the real world knows it’s just that, a technicality.

The statement came up again recently when Dewhurst was interviewed by the Texas Tribunes’ Evan Smith.

Smith: But the difference would have been that you would have had to go find the money that you got from the federal government that you got presumably in the form of cuts.

Dewhurst: No, we wouldn’t have had the spending level that we did. We would have had to trim the budget. We still would have been able to put some money into public education, some money into higher education, but we wouldn’t have been able to put as much money into public education and higher education and into Medicaid as we were able to do with the stimulus dollars. That’s a true statement. At the same time, we were able to create a better budget by having some access to the federal funds

In essence what Both Dewhurst and Dunnam are saying is that Texas’ budget would have been balanced, with or without the stimulus, it’s the law. But life in Texas would be much different then it is now. And that’s the reality that the elected Texas Republicans will not admit to. Without the help of the federal Texas, and their political futures would be in much worse shape.

As the recent CBO report shows the stimulus has worked, and worked well, CBO says stimulus a bigger success than expected. This is important because as Perry, Dewhurst and the rest of the GOP in Texas crow about their budget slashing prowess, they didn’t do any in 2009, because of the federal stimulus.

Without the $16 billion dollars Texas used in 2009 to balance the state’s budget, without slashing it to the bone and without raising taxes, Texas would be in extreme circumstances and unemployment would be considerably higher then it is right now. Heading into another budget cycle that would be even more dire.

The point of all of this is, for the GOP members in Texas to be running around saying how much they hate the federal government and all it’s spending, is extremely dishonest. Without the stimulus money in Texas these politicians would be in a much more dire political situation, and they have the federal government to thank for the fact that they are not.


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