Conservative radio hosts are excited about a recent speech by Texas governor Rick Perry. Perry forcefully argued his theme of "unwavering support for efforts all across our country, but, most of all, here in Texas, to reaffirm the states' rights affirmed through the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
That sounds great, but does he really mean it?
In a study, I noted that Perry and the Texas state government are aggressive scavengers of federal grant dollars. The rise in federal granting is one of the central causes of the destruction of the Tenth Amendment in recent decades.
I noted that Perry's official webpage is chock full of press releases touting his distribution of federal subsidies. These press releases are from a short time period in 2006:
- "Perry: Texas Farmers and Ranchers to Share $780 Million in Drought Assistance."
- "Perry: FEMA Agrees to Reimburse Texas at Same Rate as Louisiana for Hurricanes."
- "Gov. Perry Announces $1.6 Million in Grants to Juvenile Offender Accountability Programs."
- "Perry: Homeland Security Grants to Focus on Technology Needs."
- "Gov. Perry: Presidential Disaster Declaration Approved for El Paso."
- "Gov. Perry Announces $38,098 in Victims of Crime Act Funds to El Paso County."
- "Gov. Perry Announces $3.6 Million in Grants to Local Law Enforcement."
Notice how Perry takes credit for all the new spending? Politicians love spending, especially when they can foist the cost on taxpayers living in other states.
Look at these two press releases up on Perry's website right now:
- Apr. 9: "Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas' Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment."
- Apr. 10: "Gov. Perry Calls on FEMA to Assist the State in Fighting Wildfires."
Governor Perry: Do you want to revive the Tenth Amendment or do you want the FEMA money? You're giving us whiplash out here!
I don't think Perry's tax policies have been particularly conservative either, as they have centralized fiscal power at the state level and thus reduced beneficial competition between local governments.