(Please welcome State Representative Mary Gonzalez, who has a guest post responding to Rick Perry's State of the State address today. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
In today's State of the State, Governor Perry delivered to us a fantasy-land version of Texas. In this caricature, Rick Perry took us on a tour of a Texas far from the reality we live in. He painted a picture of a big, bustling land of opportunity and equality for all where everyone has a fair chance. This Texas is on an "upward trajectory" only by the cause of its own bootstraps, standing as the shining beacon of hope and liberty for all.
But let's get back to reality.
We all know what the real Texas is like-- the Texas that continues to be overlooked. The last fourteen years has created an insular, out of touch Governor who can't look past the reports and charts on his desk to see that millions of Texans need a greater investment in education, infrastructure, and health care. The Governor's tax plan short-changes working Texas families while providing huge, unnecessary corporate tax credits. We could actually invest in our colleges and universities, our public schools, a substantial and comprehensive reproductive health program, but instead our Governor chooses to throw opportunity away.
No matter what Governor Perry may say, our neighborhood public schools need a Governor who cares if our children are learning, not what they score on a standardized test. As Texas Politifact wrote last week, education spending has dropped 20% since 2004. In 2010, 40% of Texas Hispanics did not have a high school degree. In my own House District 75, 20% over 25 have not graduated from high school.
Yet when the Governor speaks with his staff, he sees testing as a way to create accountability. When I speak with my constituents, like I did this past weekend, I hear about how high-stakes testing is ruining our public schools. The first step to stronger public schools is to restore the billions of dollars that were cut in 2011 and throw out the failed high-stakes testing schemes.
And while Governor Perry seems to throw accountability around in every education speech he writes, he doesn't seem to hold himself very accountable for the 6.3 million uninsured Texans he represents. Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country, and Governor Perry wants to keep it that way. From the recently restored mansion, Governor Perry cannot see the 1.5 million Texans who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, effectively sending billions of Texas taxpayer dollars to states like New York and California.
Governor Perry has chosen to use his position to legislate based on ideology, not sensibility. Because of this, our communities, families, and children in this state will continue to pay the price. How are we supposed to trust our leaders when they refuse to notice there are changes that need to be made? Texas deserves not to be lied to. Myself and others are working to address the real issues and be honest with our constituents. We're working to bring change and make a better Texas happen now.