Monday was the last day of the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature, the day both the House and the Senate were supposed to adjournsine die, having completed the business of the people of the state. It surprised no one that what happened instead more closely resembled chaos.
To begin with, there were stacks of bills that were not going to pass because time had run out before the necessary flnal measures could be taken. That much was known, and there was a reason for that (more on that reason later). Nonetheless, there were some important things that were supposed to get finished before sine die: the Democrats in the House were going to try and salvage an expansion of the state CHIP program that the governor didn’t want and had vowed to veto, and both the House and the Senate needed to finalize safety net measures to keep five of the largest state agencies, including Transportation and Insurance, from shutting down before the next lege session. The House passed a resolution they felt adequate for this and adjourned abruptly, without the Dems saving the CHIP expansion, and without notifying the Senate. The Senate had an issue with the House resolution because it did not include 2 billion dollars in road-building bonds and construction projects. They sent it back but the House was already gone, no doubt partying down. So the Senate stayed in session late into the evening and tried to salvage the safety net but could not reach agreement, probably because so many Senators were busy collaring the milling-about journalists and newspeople and throwing down trashtalk about the House. So they adjourned without the safety net.
On Tuesday the Senate kept blaming the House, the House blamed the Senate, Democrats blamed Republicans, Republicans blamed Democrats, and Governor Goodhair called a news conference and admitted that he knew less about thesituation than anyone else, again surprising no one.
“If I could tell
you that I understood what happened last night, I would be an absolute
genius,” Perry said. “I thought I was watching an episode of Lost.
I have no idea what they were thinking or why they did not want to pass
that resolution that would give a safety net to those agencies.”
Despite all that, Perry declared thesession a success, and in true Republican fashion, happily bragged about magical tax cuts that would solve everything:
there’s not a lot of states out there that have cut taxes during this
recession,” Perry said last weekend. “California tried to raise a whole
bunch of them. And Michigan. We gave small businessmen and women a tax
The session was about business and jobs, low taxes
and small government, he said – boldfacing his philosophy that economic
development fuels every other possibility in the state, from better
education to better roads.
/span>Because in Perry’s world low taxes and small government are better than adding 80,000 deserving Texas kids to the state CHIP program, better than using stimulus money to expand the state’s meager unemployment benefits, better than helping families send their kids to college by freezing climbing tuition rates, better than making sure that tens of thousands of state employees have a job in two years. These are the people that should feel lost on a desert island because in Perry’s world, they might as well be.