AUSTIN -- Lawmakers were back at the State Capitol Thursday afternoon, getting right into the heart of the state's issues. They're just a few days into the new legislative session, and on Thursday they heard exactly what Governor Rick Perry wants from them.
Governor Rick Perry gave the morning keynote address at the 11th annual Texas Public Policy Foundation's ‘Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature 2013.’
He’s urging lawmakers to keep a conservative mind. They're facing a healthy revenue estimate with more money available for general spending.
“Our job now is to remind people that this good news does not mean we'll be free to spend any amount on anything we want,” said Governor Perry.
Perry wants legislators to pass laws and a budget which will keep taxes down and the business climate strong. He says it's the most important thing government can do.
“The last two years tell us that people do the most good when we leave the money in their hands for them to make the decisions on how to spend that. That they can start new businesses, they can invest in new equipment, they can hire new employees, they can blaze new trails, they can innovate,” said the governor.
Along with a strong business climate, Gov. Perry also told the crowd that lawmakers need to focus on legislation that paves the way for a strong workforce -- with an emphasis on higher education.
“That means passing some higher education reforms and plac[ing] a greater emphasis on affordability and graduation rates; streamlining and accelerating the process for people who earn technical certificates,” explained Perry. “These are all steps that are vital if Texas is going to continue to be the nation's epicenter for job creation.”
He's also looking at the state's infrastructure and asking lawmakers to make improvements on state roads, water and energy.
“We're growing as people are relocating from other states,” said Governor Perry.
He is promoting a plan called the Texas Budget Compact.
“Practice clean budget, support a stricter constitutional limit on spending, make a small business tax current, preserve our strong Rainy Day Fund, and cut wasteful and redundant government programs. The compact is designed to keep government honest, to keep government as small as possible,” said Gov. Perry. “I look at them as a collection of common sense steps.”
Policy makers and a record 95 legislators were registered to attend this year’s orientation.