I will stay brief on the topic of education simply because it is his most egregious position and even a fair amount of state Republicans are in disbelief at the mess Gov. Perry has created. As most are aware, the Federal Government stipulated that every state would have to submit applications demonstrating their willingness to increase standards and competitiveness in six domains in order to receive Federal funding for education otherwise referred to as "Race to the Top." Of the fifty states, only four states elected not to apply for funding, Vermont, Alaska, Texas, and North Dakota. While it can surely be surmised that Vermont, Alaska, and North Dakota, all very rurally populated states, found that the process and costs of competition would outweigh the gains and therefore elected not to participate. On the other hand, Texas was eligible for top tier status qualifying the state for the largest award. Unfortunately, Gov. Perry did not want to subject our children to the influence of the Federal Government and instead subjected our children to higher classroom ratios, longer school commutes, book shortages, deteriorating schools, increased violence, falling academic performance, and a diminished and bleak outlook for the future. All this during a time when Texas schools are seeing an increase in special education and ESL needs and continued population growth not to mention greatly needed infrastructure development. I will forgo mentioning his position and role in the arrival of conservative propagandized text books.
My blood is boiling. Moving on, let's discuss his role in propagating big business at the expense of Texas citizens. There are two essential areas to focus in this regard, insurance premiums and electricity. Texas residence pay astounding homeowners' insurance premiums equal to double the national average. You may think that because we have lower construction costs (thank you illegal immigration) or no state income tax that we can afford higher insurance premiums; however, there was only one reason a rate hike was approved and that was to line the pockets of insurers in the state. Think of this as a gift to these insurers for all their warming campaign donations. It is unfortunate to mention, but these insurers still have not settled the claims from Hurricane Rita, in 2005. In fact, Gov. Perry has fought every single piece of insurance reform legislation in the state. On the flipside, Governor Perry rejected 555 million from the Federal Government to sustain unemployment compensation insurance. I guess there is one type of insurance the Governor does not like. Now, he later overturned his position to appease the masses and critics in his own party, but he still only took half the allotted amount. He surely would not wanted our children to be in debt to the Federal Government, but I suppose debts to privatized institutions are okay.
Just as Perry allowed the insurance industry to run amuck, he has allowed the states electrical providers to rack up millions in profits as Texas reports the highest costs of utilities in the nation. Do you remember when we were told utility deregulation was going to lead to more competition reducing our cost of energy? Guess what? Since deregulation, Texas has witnessed a 80% increase in household electricity bills with Dallas and Houston having the highest costs in the nation. I love you free market! Now, Perry supporters would argue there are resources for those that cannot pay their high electrical costs through a fund known as System Benefit Fund. Well, unfortunately, over half of this fund is used elsewhere and never makes it into the hands of the poorest in the state. I wonder where it goes.
Lastly, is a topic I hold close to my heart. Capital Punishment, shared by 35 states in the U.S. and in countries like Iran, Pakistan, Congo, and Syria, is next only to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys in Texas in terms of popularity. Texas has created a system which minimizes appeals and expedites executions at a rate not seen by any other state. In fact, of all 137 countries that allow the death penalty, Texas executes roughly 1% of all those executed worldwide. We also have the highest number of wrongly accused and the most cases overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Where does Perry come in? We had an extremely popularized case in the state involving a man by the name of Cameron Todd Willingham who was brought up on charges for murdering his three little girls in a house fire. The only problem was the evidence clearly was shown to have been falsified and later evidence proved the contrary. Perry was advised of the evidence, but let the execution proceed and Mr. Willingham was put to death on February 6, 2004. If only we put as much resources into saving lives as we do in executing lives then we might just not need to murder our citizens.