Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Rx for states hit hardest by the recession
HH: I’m joined on the phone from Texas by the governor of the great Lone Star State, Rick Perry. During the break, we were negotiating the move of my radio show to Texas, and he in fact offered to throw in a producer, which would be a first for the show, and so I’m looking forward to that. Governor Perry, in terms, I’ve got to do the politics with you while I’ve got you, you’re apparently going to have a primary fight with Senator Hutchison. What’s that race going to be about with two conservative Republicans?
RP: Well, I think the issue’s going to be what, who really is a conservative. And the fact of the matter is that I’m not sure you can call yourself a conservative Republican and having voted for the bailout in Washington, D.C. Those two don’t match up. The fact of the matter is that the Senator talked about what a bad thing the bailout was, and 48 hours later, she was voting for it. So it’s kind of inconsistent, and I think Republicans in the state of Texas are going to figure this…as a matter of fact, I think they’ve already figured it out, and that they want the real deal governing this state, and that Senator Hutchison may not be quite the fiscal conservative that she would like people to think that she is.
HH: It’s going to be a spirited race, I think, Governor. Every time I’ve brought it up with Texans around a table, it’s like benches clear, and tables get turned over. I’m just not bringing it up in Texas anymore.
RP: (laughing) The key is that we’ve done a good job of governing this state over the course of the last eight years, and that you look at job creation, and the tort reform that you’re celebrating today is just one of the great examples of what we’ve been able to put in place here that has made Texas a haven. People want to move to this state. About a thousand people a day are moving into the state of Texas.
RP: We go out there and recruit in California pretty regularly. Metronics, a great medical technology company is moving out of the Bay Area in California, and coming to San Antonio this year, in March of, this last March. Toyota closed down the last automobile manufacturing facility out there in California, and that small pickup line, the Tacoma line, is going to be coming to San Antonio to the Toyota plant there. So you know, the fact of the matter is, unless California comes to their senses, starts passing some sensible tax cuts, quits spending all the money, has a regulatory climate that’s fair and balanced, and passed tort reform that doesn’t allow for frivolous lawsuits, we’re going to keep coming to California, and we’re going to keep recruiting your businesses, and it’s not going to get any better. They can turn that…
HH: It’s not just California. Every high tax state, high tort state in the country loses jobs and businesses to Texas. In fact, I’ve got an affiliate down in San Antonio, KLUP, and as soon as you build me that new studio, I’m there, Governor. Now if you got the Governor’s Association, and you sit down with, Republican or Democrat, high tax, high tort state, and you say to them the three things they’ve got to do, what are those, Governor?
RP: Well actually, there’s four things they have to do. They have to have a tax system in place, a tax structure, that is as light upon the business creators as you can have. The second one is you’ve got to have a regulatory climate that is fair and balanced and predictable. I can’t tell you how important it is for businesses to know that you’ve got a predictable environment in your regulatory climate. The third thing is, you’ve got to pass tort reform. You’ve got to tell businesses and doctors and those folks that listen, you’re not going to be over-sued in our state. And the fourth thing is that you must invest in an accountable public school system, so that when those businesses do move to your state, they know there is a skilled workforce that’s going to be waiting for them. That’s the four things. Now that’s pretty simple, actually. The tough part is implementing it, having a courageous legislature that will take on the special interests, say no to them, and do what’s right for the people and the business generators. Then, there is a fifth thing that you need to do as a government, and that’s get out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does best, and that’s create jobs and wealth.
HH: That is a great list of five, Governor Rick Perry of Texas. I’ve got one question. I’m from Ohio, so how do you make up for the fact that you haven’t got real high school or college football down there?
RP: Oh, come on, man. Hey, where were you in 2005 when the University of Texas came over there and mortally spanked the Southern Cal Trojans?
HH: Hey, I’m with you on that, but I said Ohio, Governor. I didn’t bring up the fact we have a faux football team out here.
RP: Excuse me, but I think the University of Texas kinda took it to the Buckeyes that year as well.
HH: There are occasional breakthroughs in Texas, I’ll admit it.
RP: And they do play some good football up there, so my hat’s off to them. They do a good job.
HH: Yeah, and mine to Texas, of course. Now we’re talking about medical malpractice reform and tort reform there, Governor. President Obama came out with 150 white coats and 150 doctors. I think he was paying bounties to find them to come to the White House yesterday, extolling the virtues of Obamacare. Since you have worked with doctors in reforming the tort system down in Texas, what do you think of that little show and tell that the president had yesterday? And where do you think the opinion of American doctors are about Obamacare?
RP: I think this president is one of the most talented showmen that we’ve had in the business for a long time. But I think Americans are figuring out that’s just what it is – it’s show. There’s not a lot of substance. We’re figuring out now that his Obamacare bill, in the state of Texas, for instance, we ran the numbers on it. If it passed the way that it was introduced, it would cost Texans between three and six billion dollars more each year than what they’re paying. That bankrupts the state of Texas, one of the most fiscally solvent states in the country, it bankrupts. In the course of 48 months, we would be out of business. Well, less than that, probably in two years, you would use up the $9 billion dollars that we’ve got in our rainy day fund, and we would have to start raising taxes just to pay for that. When you add cap and trade, that energy show and tell bill that would do absolutely nothing for the environment, but it would drive all of the oil and gas and the refining industry…here’s the killer on this. What the administration doesn’t want to tell you is they have all of this siren song of change and blue sky and everything’s going to be wonderful, then you get the details. Cap and trade will cause gasoline to go up 41%. Every American’s electric bill, and this is the president’s own words, he said necessarily skyrocket electrical costs. We figure it’s going to be about $650 dollars per year per individual in this country. Those are costs that Americans cannot…we’re in a recession. For crying out loud, they ought to be looking at ways to cut spending, cut taxes, and cut the impact that this recessionary impact is having on America. Instead, they’re coming up with ways that it’s going to cost more to live in America.
HH: Governor, did I hear you say that Texas has a $9 billion dollar rainy day fund?
RP: You heard right, $9 billion dollars.
HH: Could you lend that to California?
RP: Well, at appropriate interest rate, we could talk.
HH: (laughing) I mean, how do you prevent your legislature from stealing that money and blowing it? That’s what’s happened here for twenty years.
RP: I will tell you, our legislature, and these men and women have worked well with us. It’s not to say we don’t have our fights. We have, you know, we have strong disagreements. But at the end of the day, Democrats and Republicans actually are working pretty well together. We’re a Republican-controlled state, but we’ve worked well together, and we’ve created, again, at the end of the day, this is about Texas. It’s not about Republican or Democrat parties. We’re fairly conservative here, even most of our Democrats. So the fact is, the legislature has been a part of creating this climate where people want to live in this state, where the tax structure and the regulatory climate and the legal system are fair and equitable. And it can happen in California.
HH: Thank you, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, always a pleasure to talk to you, Governor, I really do appreciate that.
End of interview.