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Friday, April 20, 2018

Opinion

Perry proves problematic for Texas


In an article published Wednesday in the New York Times, writer Gail Collins astutely pointed out that it might be time for Gov. Rick Perry to honor his words.

“Perry used to be famous for his flirtation with talk of secession. Maybe we should encourage him to revisit it,” Collins said.

Collins wrote about the incredibly poor track that Texas is on, and she may be right that as a state, we are the weakest link in the long run if we don’t fix our ways.

Texas is in very big trouble — and there is absolutely no sign that we have anyone in power that is willing to find solutions that work. Instead, we have a governor who is more focused on creating a name for himself and a state congress that is almost completely Republican controlled.

So how much trouble is Texas in? Well for one, population growth in our great state is extremely high. Among the states with the three highest teen birth rates, “states like Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma recording teenage birth rates of more than 60 per thousand,” according the examiner.com. The rate of teen births in Texas is almost double the national average.

To make matters worse, Texas is extremely biased when it comes to contraceptives, sexual education, and options for pregnant women — especially pregnant teens.

The bill that Perry recently introduced and also put on emergency status would require all women to have a sonogram before being able to receive an abortion.

This puts Texas in a very safe spot as far as leading the nation in birth rates and teen pregnancies.

But it gets worse; Texas is almost dead last in education. In Texas, “High school dropouts cost Texas $9.6 billion,” according to the united ways of Texas.org. Texas ranks “47 out of 50 states, in terms of English literacy levels,” according to the US Department of Education.

Teen pregnancies don’t usually have a positive effect on education once they derail a student’s academic career. Furthermore, teen women who do take responsibility for raising their children often find themselves in need of help, with or without getting a high school diploma.

The programs that help these women and children are necessary, but adequately funding these programs becomes impossible when teen pregnancy rates are among the nations highest.

What does the Texas leadership plan to do about these huge problems? Well Gov. Rick Perry surely doesn’t want to raise taxes, something he should do. He also hates taking federal funding, which is perfectly aligned with his demented beliefs and Reagan-inspired rhetoric; you can read all about this in his new book.

The state Legislature doesn’t provide a very optimistic picture either. As Collins pointed out, the Legislature is looking to cut about $4.8 billion over the next two years from the schools.

Perry and the Legislature seem to be on the same page, but this will be devastating to Texas in the future.

To no surprise, Gov. Perry is ready to make things worse.

He is “refusing $830 million in federal aid to education because the Democratic members of Congress from Texas — ticked off because Perry used $3.2 billion in stimulus dollars for schools to plug other holes in his budget — put in special language requiring that this time Texas actually use the money for the kids,” Collins wrote.

The behavior of Gov. Perry and many Republicans in the state Legislature are not only reprehensible but almost surely to cause Texas considerable amounts of trouble in the future.

The solutions that have been proposed by Perry and many Republicans in the Legislature are good for their party ideology, and votes but very bad for Texas and its budget.


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