The Brief: Top Texas News for October 21, 2011

Rick Perry, r, speaks at a Dartmouth fraternity house as wife Anita Perry, r, and son Griffin, c, listen following the Dartmouth Debates on October 11, 2011.
Rick Perry, r, speaks at a Dartmouth fraternity house as wife Anita Perry, r, and son Griffin, c, listen following the Dartmouth Debates on October 11, 2011.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Today Rick Perry will visit the power hub of the city he hopes to call home for at least four years.

He’ll be in Washington, D.C. to court K-Street insiders with an hour-long meeting at the offices of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. There, he’s expected to offer about 60 lobbyist and trade association representatives a sneak peek of the economic policy he is set to unveil in a Tuesday speech.

"Perry is not well known in Washington," a Perry supporter told the National Journal, "and obviously it's important that he get to know a lot of the key players in the city and they get the opportunity to take the measure of the man and spend some time with him.

Though the event is not billed as a fundraising one, the Journal notes it’s a chance to “convince the smart money that his campaign is worth an investment.” Big-time donations to his campaign stalled in September “perhaps not coincidentally” during a round of lackluster debate performances.

 

Meanwhile, the reviews are coming in for a component the Perry economic plan that came out earlier this week. Herman Cain, a tireless advocate of his own 9-9-9 plan, said he was “thrilled” with his opponent’s approach. Erstwhile presidential candidate and businessman Steve Forbes predicted “people’s mouths will water” when they hear the details of Perry’s proposal.

But critics, including Chuck Marr, the federal tax policy director of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, say that flat tax rates amount to little more than a tax increase for the middle class and a tax decrease for the wealthy.

CULLED:

· Texas death row inmates aren’t the only prisoners in the state to cope with food restrictions: to trim food related expenses, officials in some prisons have stopped serving lunch on the weekends. 

· The Bexar County Democratic Party celebrated an important milestone yesterday: they paid off $142,727.07 in debt on the San Antonio courthouse steps. The party had been in the red since 2008 when a former treasurer allegedly embezzeled money from its accounts.

· Though Texas is hardly known as a liberal bastion and territory to a top Republican opponent, more people there contributed to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign than his home state of Illinois.

· House lawmakers now know what will be keeping them busy until the next session. Speaker of the House Joe Straus released the interim charges yesterday, and as the Dallas Morning News' Bob Garrett notes, they are more than just homework  for legislators. "It's hard not to get the impression that Straus is looking for a path through the state's continuing fiscal thicket that acknowledges the serious political limitations the tea party has imposed on raising revenues," Garrett writes. In addition to subject-area specific tasks, each committee was asked to consider ways to improve the state’s manufacturing capability and increase the “transparency, accountability, and efficiency” in state government.  Find the directions by committee here.

“I know you have a good friend of mine running. I know he’s a good governor; however, we’re running for president. I want you to help me not deprive Texas of a good governor.” — Newt Gingrich, speaking to a crowd of Dallas Tea Party activists yesterday. 

MUST READ:

Super Pacs and the Rise of the Non Campaign 

Perry: Texas health care coverage a matter of choice

Districts struggle this year with class sizes

Rove-Inspired Party Switch Leads to Perry Presidential Candidacy

 

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