UPDATE: Tax Relief, infrastructure and education: Priorities to keep Texas strong

Office of the Governor Rick Perry:

UPDATE: AUSTIN (KYTX) - Gov. Rick Perry delivered his State of the State address to the 83rd Texas Legislature, highlighting our state's strong economic outlook, and outlining his priorities to keep Texas on an upward trajectory. He called on the Legislature to provide at least $1.8 billion in tax relief, invest in the state's water and transportation infrastructure and improve access and choice in both public and higher education, including providing South Texas access to the Permanent University Fund. This is Gov. Perry's seventh State of the State address.

"The state of our state is stronger than ever. We remain the nation's prime destination for employers and job-seekers alike, and across the state - in classrooms, on assembly lines, in laboratories, on farms and in office buildings - hard working Texans are today turning their dreams into realities," Gov. Perry said. "Big and small, dreams do become reality in Texas."

The governor called on the Legislature to provide at least $1.8 billion in tax relief and pass a constitutional amendment to allow the state to give money directly back to taxpayers. He welcomed feedback from Texans on the best methods of tax relief, inviting them to share their ideas on the governor's website, gov.Texas.gov.

The governor also noted that our strong economic growth and expanding population have increased demand on the fundamental building blocks of our communities. To address these needs, he urged lawmakers to use $3.7 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for a one-time investment in water and transportation infrastructure programs. Additionally, he called on the Legislature to once and for all end diversions from the State Highway Fund, freeing up an additional $1.3 billion of ongoing biennial funding available for transportation.

"What I am proposing will support critical water and transportation systems across our state, addresses our needs both short- and long-term, and ensures both water and traffic will continue to flow in Texas for generations to come," the governor said.

Recognizing that not every child learns for the same purpose or thrives in the same settings and schools, the governor called for more choice in both public and higher education. This includes the creation of more public charter schools, which are already in high demand across the state and offer a tuition-free alternative to a student's neighborhood school, and the creation of scholarship programs to give students a choice in their education, especially for those locked into low-performing schools. The governor also emphasized the need to give students more flexibility in the courses they take in high school to prepare them for whatever their goals may be, without sacrificing rigorous academic standards.

Also highlighting the state's higher education needs, particularly in the dynamic and growing South Texas region, the governor called on lawmakers to provide the region access to the Permanent University Fund. This paired with efforts to make higher education more accessible and affordable to all Texans - such as providing more $10,000 degree options, a four-year tuition freeze and tying a minimum of ten percent of a school's state funding to the number of students it graduates - all represent an investment in our state's skilled workforce and our future.

"Texas is not merely strong, but exceptional. We are a testament to the power of freedom, to the entrepreneurial spirit unleashed from government interference," said Gov. Perry in closing. "We believe these ideals are sturdy enough and strong enough to advance any and all Texans regardless of race, color or creed. We embrace a ‘can do culture' for every citizen willing to work hard and pursue a dream. Those ideals propel us forward as we stand as a national example that hard work can breed success regardless of one's station in life, that freedom is the best antidote to poverty, and that each individual deserves to inherit a state of equality and opportunity."

The governor also emphasized the principles of the Texas Budget Compact, such as truing up the budget and moving away from budget gimmicks; implementing a stronger constitutional limit on spending that ensures it does not grow more than the combined rate of inflation and population growth; scrubbing the budget for any waste and redundancies; ending the practice of using dedicated funds and specific fees for anything other than the purpose for which they were intended; and maintaining a strong Rainy Day Fund that includes not tapping the fund to meet ongoing expenses.

Today, Gov. Perry released his proposed state budget for the 2014-15 biennium. To view the budget, please visit, http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/Governors_Budget_2014-15.pdf

To view the governor's full remarks, please visit http://governor.state.tx.us/news/speech/18095/.

To view biographies of Gov. Perry's guests for the speech, please visit




AUSTIN (THE TEXAS TRIBUNE) - Gov. Rick Perry has given six State of the State addresses, outlining his vision for the state and his strategies for each legislative session. Before lunch Tuesday, he'll deliver the seventh, telling the 83rd Legislature — and the rest of us — what's on his mind and what he hopes to accomplish along with state lawmakers before the end of the regular session on Memorial Day.


A source familiar with the speech said Perry would advocate spending "several billion from the Rainy Day Fund for a one-time investment in water and infrastructure projects." That mirrors legislative proposals for a $2 billion starter fund for water and unspecified amounts for transportation. The governor will continue to argue that the fund should not be tapped for continuing expenses. But with it projected to hit nearly $12 billion by the end of the next two-year budget, the source said Perry would also make the case that the fund should not be "allowed to accumulate more than necessary."

He will also propose ending diversions from the state highway fund so all of it can be used for transportation. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said recently that money from that fund should all go to transportation projects and that the state should pay for the Department of Public Safety out of other accounts. 

The setup for the governor was evident before the session even began. The budget numbers from Comptroller Susan Combs are a vast improvement over the forecast she gave two years ago, and the one two years before that. The partisan makeup of the Legislature — set by voters in last year's elections — is close to what it was two years ago: Republicans are firmly in control in both chambers and in all of the statewide offices. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care reform laws, the Affordable Care Act, and now the state and federal governments are trying to figure out just how that will work.

The 2014 elections are already a subject of conversation in the Capitol, and will play into strategy and tactics of the governor and many others on the political food chain between now and candidate filing deadlines a little less than a year away.

The state economy is strong and recovering, but challenges remain in infrastructure, public and higher education, health care and immigration. And then there are the collected legislative promises made by the 181 members of the Senate and the House during their recent election campaigns.

For openers, we've assembled previous reporting on Perry's biennial messages to the Legislature.

• In his previous speeches, the governor has proposed to sell a government-run lottery to finance a health insurance program. He wanted to deregulate college tuition, and then freeze it. He proposed leaving the state's Rainy Day Fund alone — or sending all of that money back to taxpayers. He wanted to cap increases in local property taxes, to spend tax money on companies moving to Texas, and to increase the number of kids in the Children's Health Insurance Program.

• When Perry delivered his sixth State of the State speech, we wondered whether his emphasis on certain words or subjects had changed in the 10 years he has delivered the biennial speeches. A visual look at Perry's words.

And here are links to the text of the previous six speeches:








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