No Matter What, Somebody’s Gonna Get Mad
Texas has been fortunate. The housing market here didn't go ballistic in terms of prices the way some areas of the country did back in the '90s and the early part of the 21st century. So when the whole housing mess imploded in 2008, the fall didn't hurt quite as much here. But it hurt a little. Our state isn't quite as far in the hole as, say, Michigan or California. Who in their right mind wants to go live in either of those states? But, nonetheless, things in Texas aren't all rosy. There are problems. We've got bills to pay just like everyone else. And since there is little chance of a windfall of any sort anytime soon, that leaves just one option: spend less. It all sounds good, until, you start telling people what you're going to cut. To quote the words of one of my co-workers, "people rarely make a fuss till their goat gets gored". Once it's your goat their messing with, well, that's just not gonna happen, right? Wrong. It matters little how important your area may be to you. Roads, schools, services of every sort are going to see cuts. That's the word from Austin. I'm predicting a long session for this legislature. Gov. Perry knows that no matter what gets sent up for his John Hancock, somebody, lots of somebody's are going to be very upset. Help from Uncle Sugar will likely be, and should be, in short supply this go-round. According to an article today at CNN.COM by Tami Luhby, Texas benefited (if you want to call stimulus a 'benefit') from the DC handouts in 2010:
"Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched."
OK. So Texas took some of the money. Is that a problem? Uh, yeah! First of all, we're touting our own thrift and ability to manage the checkbook, while tapping into the very program that so many legislators in our state have criticized. Secondly, what exactly are we going to do for the next fiscal year? Well, to borrow a line from an old Mickey Gilley tune, here comes the hurt again. You'd think we'd learned. Probably not. Or have we? Cuts, they are a coming. Education, roads, highways; it's all getting cut. And everybody will have something to get mad about, in their own little spheres anyway. But everything is, and should be, on the table. Times are tough. And some of this stuff should have been dealt with a long, long time ago anyhow. Sacred cows, please proceed to the nearest feedlot.