| AUSTIN, Texas
AUSTIN, Texas Jan 29 Texas Governor Rick Perry
on Tuesday called for sending excess tax money back to taxpayers
and tapping the state's rainy-day fund for water and
Perry, 62, the longest serving governor in the nation at
just over 12 years, touted Texas' success creating jobs and
luring companies to the state.
He called for changing the constitution of the nation's
second most populous state to allow tax money to be returned to
the people who paid it when the state brings in more than
"We've never bought into the notion that if you collect
more, you need to spend more," Perry said in a speech, which he
delivered in the state House chamber to a joint session of the
House and Senate.
He also suggested providing at least $1.8 billion in "tax
relief," though he did not offer details.
Perry has urged lawmakers to resist pressure to spend money
freely despite a state forecast of a 12.4 percent rise in
revenue available for the 2014-2015 budget compared to the
previous two-year budget.
In 2011, lawmakers, facing a budget shortfall, made cuts to
education and health care. Democrats are calling for restoring
Perry on Tuesday reiterated his stance that Texas will
neither expand the federal-state Medicaid program health program
for the poor, nor create a health insurance exchange, two key
parts of President Barack Obama's signature health law.
"Texas will not drive millions more into an unsustainable
system, a system that will drive this state into bankruptcy,"
Perry said. "And we have not changed and will not change our
position on that one iota."
Perry did not mention abortion in the speech. The governor,
who opposes abortion, has said that he supports banning
late-term abortions, a proposal based on controversial medical
research suggesting that a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks
Perry, who a year ago dropped out of the race for the 2012
Republican presidential nomination, has said that he will wait
until after the legislative session is over at the end of May to
announce whether he will seek re-election as governor or try
again for a presidential run.