This afternoon, Gov. Rick Perry spoke to a gaggle of reporters at the Capitol, taking questions on yesterday's Senate budget vote, tomorrow's sanctuary city House floor debate and more.
On what he thinks of the Senate budget:
"It's a good step in the right direction."
On whether the Senate budget spends too much:
"I don't know about that. That's the reason we're sending it to conference. I won't judge it at this particular point in time. We know we've got to be fiscally conservative. My main concern at this juncture is to get the process moving, which they did. I do think it was wise that they recognized that the people of the state of Texas don't want the Rainy Day Fund impacted anymore."
On the fact that some big-city police chiefs have a problem with the sanctuary city bill that's about to be before the House:
"My response is that I hope they were paying attention on the second day of November, 2010, when the people of the state of Texas said pretty clearly that they wanted to have a sanctuary city prohibition in our statute. I talked about it a lot during the campaign. It was one of the major issues during the campaign. Chiefs may not get elected, but their city councilors and their mayors do. I'd have them maybe check back maybe with the people that appoint them before I got crossways with the electorate."
On the use of the Rainy Day Fund in 2003 to create the Enterprise and Emerging Technology Fund and in 2006 to help fund tax cuts:
"It was different times. I mean, if anybody can't see the difference in the times that we're in ... the idea that you'd try to hold us to a particular position in 2003, 2006, and 2011 is a little bit out of the ordinary, I think."
On his previous statement to the effect that he'd like to liquidate the Rainy Day Fund:
"You'll recall it was during a time when we had major surpluses. I don't see any reason to have huge amounts of money in a Rainy Day Fund when you have just massive surpluses. If you'll recall, in 2005, we had a $10 billion budget surplus, relative to the two-year budget before. Why have a big stack of money sitting over on the side when you have large budget surpluses? Rainy Day Funds are for those events that occur when you don't have the money to cover the cost of them. We've got a federal government right now that's not wanting to pay us its part of a disaster relief. If we're going to have to pick up the whole cost of these disasters, then you put that on top of a hurricane season that's coming that the forecasters have said are going to be approaching 50 percent more hurricanes than were forecast for last year. If we have a major storm come in the Gulf, then it makes, I think, abundant sense. So, listen, we for two years stood up and said, 'We're going to balance our budget, within available revenue, not raise taxes, and not get in the Rainy Day Fund.' Even you could've given that speech you've heard it so often. And we had an election, and the people of the state of Texas are confused about what's going on here. I would suggest to you the majority of the voters out there look at what the Senate did, from the standpoint of not touching the RDF, and salute it.
On whether he's going to appeal FEMA's denial of disaster relief declaration:
"I don't know yet, we're talking to the collective group that we discuss all these issues with ... and look at all the options that are in front of us."