When Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) gave his annual state address, he promised that his plan to fill the Lone Star state’s $27 billion budget gap without raising any new revenue would lead to economic prosperity and job growth. “Balancing our budget without raising taxes will keep us moving forward out of these tough economic times, creating more jobs and opportunity and leaving Texas more competitive than ever,” he said. “As other states flounder about, oppressing their citizens with more taxes and driving away jobs with bad policy, Texas will make the right decisions, and emerge stronger.”
However, the bipartisan Legislative Budget Board found that the budget before the legislature could cause the state to lose 600,000 jobs, including more than 260,000 in the private sector:
Texas could see more than 600,000 jobs disappear if lawmakers adopt the $83.8 billion budget that will go before the state House late next week, according to a state agency. Harsh spending cuts in the budget could cost more than 263,500 private sector jobs and 343,000 government positions over the next two years, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Legislative Budget Board, a bipartisan committee.
The Budget Board emphasized that “many of these job losses can be attributed to the steep downturn of the Texas economy during the past several years.” This just reaffirms the folly of instituting draconian budget cuts at a time of economic weakness. “The voters did not elect us to eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs,” said state Rep. Mike Villarreal (D).
The cuts in the Texas budget fall especially hard on the state’s already hard-hit education and health care sectors. Earlier this month, Perry was talking up the virtues of education and job creation at the same time that he was proposing deep education cuts and teacher layoffs.
700 of the positions that the Texas budget would eliminate would be in child protective services. Texas already has a sky-high child poverty rate and as Prof. Vivian Dorsett explained, “if you cut child services on the front end, then the state’s going to be paying for it on the back end,” due to foster care and prison costs.