Some state lawmakers want Governor Rick Perry to call a summer special session in hopes of heading off tuition hikes, budget cuts or property tax increases that they fear will be necessary as a result of his decision late last week to slash community college funding with his line-item veto authority.
The furor over Perry's vetoes intensified Wednesday amid speculation that the governor was intentionally setting the stage for a special session in an attempt to force an overhaul in the way the state's public colleges and universities are funded.
While higher education officials and their hometown lawmakers expressed disappointment, frustration and anger over the vetoed college funds, Perry is also catching increasing heat for vetoing an eminent domain bill that was designed to protect property rights, a school bus idling measure and a bill that would have increased retirement benefits for some legislative employees such as House and Senate clerks, cooks and parliamentarians including two who resigned during a revolt in the House on the session's final weekend. The Republican governor vetoed 51 bills that had been approved during the regular session and $646 million in spending in two appropriations bills.
Perry has been upset about the methods that higher education officials have used to justify legislative appropriation requests - and he's been unhappy with the Legislature's resistance to his demands for more accountability and spending restraints on special items that he calls pork.