May 01, 2003
Our governor loves his secrets

Awhile back, Governor Goodhair lost a fight to keep his drafts of the 2003 budget secret. Once those drafts were released, it became apparent why he didn't want the public to know about them, since they broke nearly every campaign promise he made. What's a secretive yet responsibility-averse governor to do?

Why, get a buddy in the Legislature to sponsor a bill that would allow you to indulge in your passion for being the Undercover Governor without any interference from that meddling Attorney General, that's what.

A provision tucked deep inside of House Bill 2, sponsored by Rep. David Swinford, R-Amarillo, would exempt from public disclosure "drafts, working papers, supporting material, research material, and internal or external communications" that the governor's office uses in compiling a two-year budget proposal.

Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said the governor's office continues to believe _ as it stated in a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott _ that budget drafts and working documents should be exempt from disclosure.

"In the long run the public is better served by full and accurate information, not speculation and incomplete documents," Walt said.

If I ever get the chance to meet Kathy Walt, I'm going to check her head carefully for signs that it's been reinforced to prevent exploding. She's obviously had the full Ari Fleischer treatment.

The Texas governor is required by state law to submit a budget proposal to legislators, who write the spending plan.

Perry's zero-based proposal released Jan. 17 listed amounts spent in previous budget years in each category, such as education, and then recommended nothing be spent on that item for the coming two-year cycle. He said by starting from zero, every expense would have to be justified.

The working documents showed that before Texas' budget shortfall nearly doubled and before Perry released his zero budget, his office was working on a two-year plan with funding increases to education and health and human services.

The proposal also used some of the accounting mechanisms such as payment delays that Perry is now criticizing.

We learn two things from this, boys and girls. One is that Perry wouldn't be in this mess if it weren't for our incompetent comptroller. Two is that Perry is indeed a big ol' weasel. No surprise there.

Thanks to the Burnt Orange Report for finding this. They're on my blogroll, and they should be on yours.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 01, 2003 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack

Can anyone explain to me why GOPers are so enamored with secrecy? The unmitigated BS about secrecy being needed to make sure that they would discourage the "frank exchange of information among government staff and agencies" doesn't pass the smell test.

They basically don't want anyone to know what their initial reactions to problems are. Their argument might work in a business, but last time I looked, these folks were either elected by the citizery, or were appointed to their positions by elected officials. This makes them accountable to us, and we deserve to know what their priorities really are. Tricky Ricky is one slippery, slimy Aggie. And trust me on this, we've got a lot of 'em.

Posted by: Smirking Chupacabra on May 1, 2003 12:16 PM