It’s still too early to start putting odds on the likelihood of a special session, but Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday gave Texas lawmakers a roadmap to avoid one.
“It should be no surprise that if folks want to go home at the end of this legislative session, send me $1.8 billion worth of tax relief, send me a balanced budget that has no fee increases for transportation and $2 billion of infrastructure for water, and everybody can go home and enjoy their summer,” he told reporters.
Perry's comments came after he headlined a Capitol ceremony kicking off the final leg of the Texas Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting the Special Olympics Texas group.
The governor urged the Legislature to keep pro-business policies that he says have made Texas a great place for companies to relocate. He noted that the state was just named the best place to do business by Chief Executive magazine and said passing a big tax cut was one way to keep it that way.
The Texas House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a tax cut just south of $700 million. But Perry said there's still plenty of time to increase that amount as the legislation moves through the sausage grinder.
Perry stressed the importance of passing water infrastructure legislation, saying businesses will begin to doubt the state’s commitment to providing a stable source of water if the bill doesn’t pass. One version of the bill has already been defeated, but leaders are working to resurrect it.
“If we don’t put a water plan into place right now when we have the resources available, when we’re in the middle of a drought that we see no end of, that message starts resonating to big corporate entities or small mom and pop businesses that are thinking about relocating to the state of Texas,” Perry said.
Asked about President Obama’s visit to Austin on Thursday — which is related to the economy — the governor again took the opportunity to highlight the state’s business climate, saying Texas is offers a good “blueprint” for Washington and other U.S. states to copy.
Perry said he would greet Obama when he arrives but didn’t know if he would have a chance to spend more time with him.
“I’m going to meet him on the tarmac at least,” Perry said. “I don’t know whether we’re going to have an opp more than that, but we’ll be here to welcome him to the state.”