Recovery Act Resources Critical to Texas, Despite Rhetoric
Texas Governor Rick Perry is making waves with his entry into the Republican race for president. He’s also making waves with his anti-Washington rhetoric, vowing to make Washington “inconsequential” to most people’s lives.
Fortunately for Texans, he didn’t take that same anti-Washington approach during the recession, when the state made significant use of Recovery Act dollars to stem its budgetary shortfall and lay the groundwork for the subsequent economic recovery. News reports at the time indicated that Texas used stimulus funds to plug 97% of its budget shortfall for fiscal 2010, a figure higher than any other state’s.
Governor Perry has championed his state’s job creation as a model for what he might be able do if he were elected president. Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, has pointed out that it was actually the creation of a large number of public sector jobs that kept the Lone Star economy afloat during the worst years of the recession. Between 2007 and 2010, Texas lost 178,000 private sector jobs and added 125,000 public sector jobs, for a net loss of 53,000 jobs
Bernstein also notes that government employment grew by 7.2% between 2007 and 2010 in Texas, the second-highest rate of any state.
Few people, including Governor Perry, seem to have an appreciation of how the Recovery Act has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and cushioned states from the worst effects of the recession. As the presidential race heats up, there’s sure to be more criticism of the Recovery Act, while overlooking the fact that the stimulus kept 4.5 million people out of poverty.
For more information on how the Recovery Act has benefited Wisconsin, you can check out resources on the Wisconsin Budget Project website related to the Recovery Act.