Governor Perry Highlights Successes of Legislative Session
Optimistic that school finance reform deal can still be brokered
Gov. Rick Perry today joined with Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Tom Craddick to tout the successes and accomplishments of the 2005 Legislative Session. Perry also stated his continued determination to broker a deal between the house and the senate on school finance reform.
"This legislative session ends with a number of successes and one disappointment," Perry said. "I am proud we passed landmark reforms to protect vulnerable children and frail adults, reformed workers' compensation laws to help injured workers and lower costs for their employers, and made investments in jobs and technology."
On the issue of school finance Perry expressed optimism that legislative leaders could still reach an agreement, saying, "the final chapter of this book has yet to be written. I don't believe we are finished here and I know a great many legislators feel the same way. Legislators' inability to strike an agreement will make for a long and uncomfortable summer when they go home and explain why they did not act on education reform and property tax relief."
Perry highlighted the following accomplishments of the legislative session:
* A lawsuit reform measure that will crack down on frivolous asbestos lawsuits while ensuring Texans truly harmed by asbestos get the care they need.
* A workers' compensation reform that will lower health care costs, provide relief to employers and provide better benefits to injured workers while giving them every incentive to return to work sooner.
* A landmark $200 million CPS reform bill that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of vulnerable Texans with the hiring of hundreds of new investigators to protect children at risk of harm.
* A continued investment in the jobs and technology that will be the foundation for the future with about $380 million in funding for the Enterprise Fund and the new Emerging Technology Fund.
* A transportation bill that continues the state's vision for ending gridlock and creating growth, while protecting private property rights.
Perry also noted that he is disappointed that legislators did not act on comprehensive school finance reform that would improve education and provide a property tax cut to Texas taxpayers.
"I am disappointed for millions of taxpayers drowning in rising tax bills, for schoolchildren trapped in failing schools that refuse to change and for every employer that depends on an educated workforce, and that would have benefited from the landmark school reforms this legislature should have passed," Perry said.
Perry added that if the house and senate can come to an agreement that he will call a special session.
"I have said all along that school finance should not be resolved at the courthouse but at the state house," Perry said. "I still believe that can happen even though the regular session has ended without an agreement.
"We ran out of time this session, but I will continue to work overtime to give a victory to schoolchildren, Texas teachers and property taxpayers, and I hope the legislature will join me. "