AUSTIN — Guess the federal government isn’t telling Texas what color to paint the Governor’s Mansion.
Texas budget negotiators have set aside $11 million in federal stimulus dollars to help repair the fire-ravaged Governor’s Mansion — even as GOP Gov. Rick Perry rails against Washington for attaching strings to $555 million in stimulus dollars for unemployment insurance.
“I would not want to be a member voting to let Washington D.C. tell us how to run our business in Texas,” he said of Texas legislators trying to decide whether to take the half a billion from the government for jobless benefits.
House and Senate budget writers also have agreed to spend stimulus money on other projects favored by Perry: $40 million to help attract film projects, $20 million for the Enterprise Fund meant to spur economic development and $24 million for the Emerging Technology Fund.
Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, called the situation ironic — even as he has disagreed with Perry’s stand against the extra unemployment insurance money. But he added: “Under the circumstances that we find ourselves in, we had to use the money the best way we can.”
House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Raymond, D-Laredo, said expenditures like repairing the ruined Mansion were necessary.
“Funding that with stimulus dollars to me is just a non-issue ... have ‘X’ number of dollars. We did as good a job as we could to invest those dollars wisely.”
The proposal awaits a formal vote by negotiators and approval by the House and Senate before going to Perry.
Perry hasn’t blocked the bulk of stimulus dollars coming to Texas, but he has stood against the extra money for unemployment insurance because the state would have to expand its benefits to more people to get it.
the Chron again
For what it's worth, Texas taxpayers are currently paying the Governor's $10,000 monthly rent.