In a letter addressed to the governor and in a speech at the Austin Hilton, Strayhorn accused him of shifting the cost of, rather than cutting altogether, kitchen staff at the Governor's Mansion. And in a bit of political maneuvering, she linked the staffing costs with the Children's Health Insurance Program, for which new state rules took effect Tuesday. She called the changes a "mean-spirited means test" which will "literally jeopardize the health of countless children of the working poor."
"If you can magically manage to keep two maids, a cook and a porter on your staff at the Governor's Mansion while claiming that they are not part of your budget, certainly you can figure out a way to continue insuring the health of these children," she wrote.
"By shifting your personal Mansion staff and salaries of five other staffers to another agency, you claimed a $300,000 budget cut. Had that cut been real, the state could have used those dollars to draw down an additional $771,000 in federal money. This would have provided health insurance to an estimated 930 children for a year." "Governor, your maids and cook and porter, I am certain, are vital to your quality of life," she continued. "Please understand the insurance you are denying children with this new means test is vital to their life, period."
"It's hypocrisy," she told reporters after a speech delivered Wednesday morning before the Texas Association for Home Care. "I guess the porter is still portering."
With the nimble quickness of a charging bull, however, she narrowly avoided committing herself to the election.
"I am strongly delivering the message: It's time to put children first," she told reporters after her speech.
UPDATE: It's a twofer! Strayhorn bashes Perry over toll roads!Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 25, 2004 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack