Gov. Perry took the lead on controlling the budget yesterday by presenting a forward-looking economic agenda for legislators and legislative candidates to either choose to support or choose not to suppport.
Speaker Straus quickly responded with a press release stating his non-support. The reason he gave was that he doesn’t sign pledges, only the governor isn't asking legislators to sign the pledge, just to back it. Straus’s reasoning is an excuse, albeit one he could back off of by offering a correction based on an initial misunderstanding of the governor's compact.
Straus went on to claim he supported the principles contained in the pledge, even if he would not ‘sign on’.
However, it was just a few months ago that Speaker Straus was traveling Texas announcing our need for new revenues in order to increase spending. After getting into hot water for campaigning this way, he quit, but he showed his hand enough for reasonable people to be skeptical about his commitment to the principles of Gov. Perry’s new pledge.
Further, conservative candidates offering real support for the governor’s compact would remove from the speaker’s team the argument that conservative candidates aren’t mainstream. By contrast, their moderate opponents would be standing outside of the mainstream, backing a speaker who Democrats brought to power, and taking on water to deny support to a compact that, based on who they claim to be in their campaigns, they should back.
Making spending limits an emergency item would further increase their chances of being enacted.