Rick Perry on Government Reform

Republican Governor (TX)


Tort reform savings get passed down to low-income consumers

We have not eliminated black poverty in Texas. But we have made meaningful progress. In NY, the supplemental poverty rate for blacks is 26%. In California, it is 30%. In Texas, it is just 20%. And here is how it happened. We curtailed frivolous lawsuits and unreasonable regulations. It's far cheaper to do business in Dallas or Houston than it is in Baltimore or in Detroit. And those lower costs, they get passed down to consumers, especially low income consumers in the form of lower prices. There's a lot of talk in Washington about income inequality. But there is a lot less talk about the inequality that arises from the high cost of everyday life. In blue state coastal cities you have these strict zoning laws, environmental regulations that have prevented buildings from expanding the housing supply. It's not just about how many dollars you earn, though there are still pretty substantial opportunities for that in Texas. It's also about how far each dollar that you do earn can take you.
Source: Perry speech at National Press Club , Jul 2, 2015

Unconstitutional to federalize education & healthcare

Among the enumerated powers of Congress are the power "To lay and collect Taxes...to pay Debts and provide for the common Defense"; "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations"; "To declare War, to raise and support Armies, to provide and maintain a Navy.

But nowhere does the Constitution declare we can federalize classrooms. Nowhere does it give federal officials primary responsibility over the air we breathe, the land we farm, the water we drink. And nowhere does it say Congress shall nationalize healthcare.

It is inherent in human nature once given power to never give it back. And let me tell you something--this human tendency is a bipartisan offense. That's why we must elect the right kind of leaders to represent us in Washington. Leaders who devolve power to the states and not rob them of it.

Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention , Mar 8, 2014

Cut Congress' pay in half & make them part-time

Q: Should the government be getting involved in issues of behavior?

PERRY: I think that it's the states' call, not the federal government. But the real issues that we have in this country are that people are sick of Washington, D.C. They're sick of the money that they're seeing spent, they're sick of the fraud and the corruption that they're seeing. They're sick of seeing their kids' futures mortgaged because we've got a Washington, D.C., that is out of touch with the country. It's the reason, when I talk about my overhauling Washington plan, and I've gotten a pretty good response when I talk about going to a part-time Congress. Cut their pay in half, let 'em spend half the time in Washington, D.C. Send 'em back home to have a regular job like the rest of the people in their districts, and work under the laws that they pass. That, I suggest, along with a balanced budget amendment, will go a long way toward stopping a lot of the nonsense that we're seeing coming out of Washington.

Source: Yahoo's "Your Voice Your Vote" debate in Iowa , Dec 10, 2011

Culture of Washington too cozy with corporate lobbyists

Q: How do you restore faith in the public markets?

PERRY: Well, we have the regulations in place, and we had the regulations in place well before the meltdowns occurred. We have a culture in Washington, D.C., where these corporate lobbyists have these cozy relationships with the people that they are regulating. And we have to have leadership in this country that not only recognizes that, but demands that those individuals who are working for us are in those agencies, whether it's in the stock market or whether it's Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. And when there are individuals who are breaking the laws, who are pushing the bounds, that there are clear efforts that are made to take those people either out of those jobs or prosecute them for criminality. One of the two, that has to happen. And you can pass legislation like you said until the world looks level. But you have got to have men and women who are committed to the laws of this country.

Source: 2011 CNBC GOP Primary debate in Rochester MI , Nov 9, 2011

McCain-Feingold unconstitutionally restricts of free speech

Governor Perry seems to have evolved on political free speech. Over twenty years ago, Perry proposed that contributions to candidates for Governor should be limited to $2,500 per person per year, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Perry now believes that "contribution limits impede free speech, and he no longer supports them." He has called the onerous McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance law an "unconstitutional.restriction of free speech."
Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #10: Perry , Sep 23, 2011

Make Washington inconsequential in your lives

I'm Governor Rick Perry. And I'm proud to be here today with the Tea Party Express. And I simply want to get America working again and make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can.
Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Tort reform was powerful TX job creator; do same federally

Q: [to Romney] Does Gov. Perry deserve any credit for all those jobs created in Texas?

ROMNEY: Oh, sure. But if you're dealt four aces that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player. Under Ann Richards, job growth in Texas was under 2.5% a year; under George Bush 3% a year; under Rick Perry it's been 1% a year.

PERRY: The fact is the state of Texas has led the nation. While the current resident of the White House is overseeing the loss of 2.5 million jobs, Texas during my period of governor has created over a million jobs. And we did that during some pretty tough economic period. One of the things that's really important was tort reform that we passed. And you want to talk about some powerful job creation? Tell the trial lawyers to get out of your state and to quit costing businessmen and women. That's what needs to happen in the states, and it's also what needs to happen at the federal level, passing federal tort reform at those federal levels.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Require voters to present photo ID at polling places

Perry signed Senate Bill 14, which requires voters to present photo identification at a polling place. "The right to vote is simply too important for us to take the act of voting lightly," Gov. Perry said. "Today with the signing of this bill, we take a major step forward in securing the integrity of the ballot box and protecting the most cherished right we enjoy as citizens."

SB 14 requires a voter to show as a valid form of photo ID, either a driver's license, US military ID card, US citizenship certificate that contains a photograph, US passport, or Texas concealed handgun license. The bill creates a free election identification certificate, with a photograph, for registered voters who need a photo ID.

The bill also increases the penalty for voting illegally to a second degree felony, and increases attempted illegal voting to a state jail felony. Voters who fail to show a photo ID at the polling place may cast a provisional ballot.

Source: Press release on signing of bill; Texas Voting Record SB14 , May 27, 2011

States are liberty's friend

While the national government was intentionally strong when it came to foreign and war powers, its domestic authority was greatly limited, leaving ample room for the states to be the hub of American self-government. States not only matter; they serve as the core of the great American experiment.The very essence of America stems from a limited, decentralized government. When we empower Washington at the expense of local control, we rip apart the concept of civic virtue by removing the ability of the citizens to govern themselves.
Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 26-33 , Nov 15, 2010

Reverse trend of federal power back to state & local level

I grew up in Paint Creek, Texas. If you can't find it on a map., I won't be surprised. Just look for Haskell, Texas, population 3,000, and then go a few miles to the south and the east and you MIGHT find it. We were cotton farmers. We believed in God, we believed in taking care of ourselves and one another, and we believed that America was the greatest nation on earth. We still do.

Serving as the governor of Texas for almost ten years has given me a unique perspective on the current state of things in our country. And from my vantage point, I see a nation filled with good, hardworking people who are wondering what happened to the country they knew. It wasn't so long ago that we were expected to pay our bills, we were able to pray at the town meeting, and we believed it was important to rely on ourselves or our families rather than government.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. xvii , Nov 15, 2010

Strong union requires limited federal government

The Founders recognized that forming a strong union requires the preservation of liberty, and that the preservation of liberty requires a government located closest to the people. That the Founders sought to empower states broadly while limiting the federal government is beyond dispute.

This power structure is no trivial matter. It is not a footnote to our founding or something just for the history books. It is the result of intense forethought and debate by the very men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to give this nation to us. This structure protects the liberty of every American while honoring the cohesive whole we are as a nation.

An obvious question arises, though: how do the states protect liberty, and what is liberty in the first place? Well, before there was government, there were people. We, the people, were given life by our Creator.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 18-19 , Nov 15, 2010

Earmarks corrupt the governing process

Earmarks represent the wasteful spending that has most caught public interest of late and for good reason. While earmarks have been prevalent since the 16th Amendment opened the spigots of cash for Congress, they have never been as out of control as they are today.

Why do we care about $29 billion in earmarks when our national deficit this year will be around $1.5 trillion? Because earmarks corrupt the process and divert attention from the real task of governing and oversight.

A modest 1-year moratorium on earmarks, proposed in 2008, was defeated 29-71. However, due to pressure from the Tea Party movement and an extremely frustrated American public, the idea of a moratorium remains alive, and at least the House GOP voted as a conference in Mar. 2010 to adopt a moratorium. What legislators should do is adopt a moratorium on pork until the budget is actually balanced, but don't hold your breath. In fact, the GOP failed to mention earmarks in its "agenda" document released in the fall of 2010

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 64-65 , Nov 15, 2010

Campaign contributions are political free speech

The Supreme Court imposes many intrusions into decision that are not only best left to the people and the states but are constitutionally left to them. The Court has censored actual political free speech such as campaign contributions, while confusing obscenity with that protected right.

Any student of American history, or even the casual observer of the news of the day, must admit that the Court adheres to the Constitution in appearance and as a matter of necessity, finding in it or in previous case law the single nugget around which the Court can marginally justify its policy choice to keep up the pretense of actually caring one iota about the Constitution in the first place.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.112 , Nov 15, 2010

Control spending to make government less burdensome

Every day, we hear more stories from across the country of jobs lost, plants closed, and homes on the auction block. As shockwaves of this crisis begin to resonate in Texas, we're reminded that we're not immune to these forces, yet we're still in better shape than most other states.

It was only six years ago when the 78th Legislature kicked off with a $10 billion budget shortfall.

To our shared credit, we didn't raise taxes like so many other states did then...and are again contemplating today. Instead, we tightened our belt, made spending cuts where we could and focused on key priorities, never forgetting that it's not OUR money we spend here; it's the taxpayers'.

All across the country, states are hiking sales taxes, and begging Washington DC for a bailout. Because we took a different approach back then, we know it's better to control spending to make government less burdensome, as a way to free up the economic power of our citizens.

Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 27, 2009

What's wrong with restricting ex-felons from voting?

The New Jersey chapter of the ACLU sought to throw out state sanctions prohibiting ex-felons from voting, claiming they were being disenfranchised. One of its allies in the fight referred to such voting restrictions "as the last vestige of slavery." The ACLU argued in its suit that because the ex-felon population is disproportionately made up of racial minority members, the voting prohibitions were discriminatory. While I think it is important for society at large to be sensitive to the notion that members of the minority community, even today, are more likely to be targeted for criminal activity, that doesn't mean those convicted of wrongdoing should be given a break. If voting is a privilege, what's wrong with tying it to behavior expected of all American citizens.
Source: On My Honor, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.131-132 , Feb 12, 2008

Reforms must respect state's rights to select electors.

Perry adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

In the wake of the United States presidential election in Florida, the Congress and the administration has expressed interest in federal standards for elections. Recognizing that Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grants states, not Congress, the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and conducting elections generally, most legislative proposals do not mandate federal standards. Rather, current proposals direct federal agencies or commissions to study and make recommendations concerning the election system. Nonetheless, the possibility of legislation in the 107th Congress requiring states to implement federal election standards remains. If enacted without adequate funding by the federal government, such legislation could also result in an unfunded mandate to the states.

NGA’s Position

Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grant states the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and provide that states are responsible for establishing election procedures generally. However, in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, the nation’s Governors recognize the need for election reform. NGA will continue to monitor federal legislation addressing this issue, but has not taken a position in support of or opposition to election reform efforts.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA11 on Aug 1, 2001

No Pork Pledge: decrease earmarking; increase transparency.

Perry signed Citizens Against Government Waste's "No Pork Pledge"

Despite congressional reforms over the past several years to reduce pork barreling and increase earmark accountability and transparency, earmarks continue to figure prominently as the "currency of corruption" on Capitol Hill, undermining the federal budgetary process and our democratic system of government. In an effort to encourage more members of Congress and candidates for office to kick the earmarking habit, CCAGW has launched a new no-gimmicks, anti-pork pledge.

Source: Citizens Against Government Waste's "No Pork Pledge" 10-CAGW on Aug 12, 2010

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