AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation praised Gov. Rick Perry’s “State of the State” address today, noting that several of the policy priorities he mentioned in his remarks mirror recommendations in the Foundation’s “Keeping Texas Competitive” program.

“The challenges Texas faces today are considerable but we have shown before that we can emerge stronger when our leaders set the right priorities,” said Foundation president Brooke Rollins. “The proposals set forth today by Gov. Perry are in line with what we believe are needed to position Texas for future greatness.”

The Foundation’s “Keeping Texas Competitive” agenda strives to keep Texas competitive and at the forefront of national prosperity and economic growth. Through this agenda, the Foundation supports reducing Texas’ tax and spending burden, standing up against federal overreach, improving educational quality for Texas students, and fostering a free market economy.

Key points in the “Keeping Texas Competitive” agenda that were supported in Gov. Perry’s remarks today:

– Balancing the budget within available revenue without raising taxes or fees while safeguarding the Economic Stabilization Fund; – Eliminating programs or agencies that are outside the Constitutional vision of limited government; – Strengthening state authority in air quality permitting and resist federal encroachment over state environmental law; – Eliminating restrictions on virtual school courses and enrollment that do not apply to traditional courses; – Tying higher education funding to student success results such as graduation, number of degrees issued, student satisfaction, employment outcomes, and student assessments; – Improving Texas’ civil justice system by adopting a fair “loser pays” statute, an early dismissal for frivolous lawsuits, and a more efficient system for handling claims under $100,000; and – Banning the use of eminent domain for takings that are not for a public use.

Rollins praised Gov. Perry’s initiative to identify government functions that could be eliminated, suspended, or consolidated.

“Too often, government agencies that provide non-essential services escape the budget axe because they’re perceived as too small to matter,” Rollins said. “This year’s budget process provides an opportunity for our state to determine the appropriate role of government.”

The Foundation also echoed Gov. Perry’s call for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“We join Gov. Perry in endorsing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Rollins said. “Runaway federal spending is of deep concern to most Americans, and it is long past time for the federal government to have to exercise the same fiscal restraint as state and local governments.”

Brooke Rollins is President and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin.

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