Gov. Perry flip-flops on tapping Rainy Day Fund

Print
Email
|

by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on March 15, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 16 at 8:48 AM

After two days of protests outside his office, Gov. Rick Perry has given in.

He has now agreed to tap the state's Rainy Day Fund to help support public schools.

Thousands of protesters have been calling on him to do it, along with some fellow Republicans.

But many say the measure still falls short.

Protesters were there to greet Gov. Perry outside the Richardson hotel where he spoke Tuesday.

"We were down in Austin and we didn't get to see Gov. Perry," said Patricia Arvanitis. "Since he's in our backyard, we wanted to make sure he saw us."

Walking into a local luncheon, the governor still refused to dip into the Rainy Day Fund to support public schools.

"We've got some tough budget decisions looming, and we're thoughtfully having a discussion about distinguishing between wants and needs," perry told his audience.

Statewide, schools stand to lose $10 billion and up to 100,000 jobs because of the state's huge budget deficit.

Hours later, on Tuesday afternoon, the governor flip-flopped and what he pledged he wouldn't do — dip into the state's Rainy Day Fund for schools.

It's a one time withdrawal of $3.2 billion of the fund's $9 billion balance.

But there's a catch — the money is only for the current fiscal year of 2011. It doesn't address cuts and potential layoffs over the next two years.

Perry has said he "...will not sign a 2012-2013 state budget that uses the Rainy Day Fund."

Dallas' largest teachers union says Perry's compromise won't help much.

While visiting North Texas, Perry didn't pause to take questions from reporters. His staff said he had prior commitments, which included a live interview with Facebook that never addressed the state's looming fiscal crisis.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|