Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Speaks at TMTA Convention

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, July 30, 2009  •  Speech

Thank you, John [Esparza] and congratulations for the remarkable job you have done in leading this organization.

I was just thinking that all the time we spent on the road traveling between Texas cities and talking to Texans, prepared you to work with people whose employees pretty much live on the road.

It is great to be here with my brothers and sisters who do the heavy hauling here in Texas. I must admit I feel a special connection to those of you who move the freight.

As John just mentioned, I hauled my own share of freight while I was flying C-130s in the Air Force.

As you know, when you’re in logistics, you never know what you’ll be called upon to carry next, but you do your best to get it to its destination on time and intact.

There is something about working in the freight business that teaches you to boil things down to the basic elements: how big is it, what does it weigh, where does it need to be when? I’d like to think that those lessons have guided me during my time in state government.

As you know, a lot of folks who work in government would just as soon not boil things down they’d rather chatter about abstract things and talk circles around the issues.

During my time in public service, as a state representative, as agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and now governor, I have tried to keep things boiled down to a bottom line.

What’s it gonna cost? Who’s it gonna help? And who’s gonna have to pay for it.

Too often, government leaders think more about “how’s this going to make me look good” without asking those other questions.

The thing that any leader in the public sector needs to remember is that the answer to “who is gonna pay for it” is always the taxpayer.

Every dollar that the government takes in taxes is a dollar that a person could have been using to feed their family invest in their future or build their business.

I’m a firm believer that you deserve the right to hang onto more of them, not less.

Unfortunately, the folks in Washington don’t seem to feel that way.

I don’t suspect I’m the only person in this room who is concerned about a national debt that has blown past $11 trillion and a federal deficit that is well over $1 trillion.

Does anyone here work for a company that can borrow and spend its way out of debt? You and I know it just doesn’t work.

Fortunately, we have taken the opposite approach here in Texas.

We have worked hard to keep taxes low, spending in check and government limited no matter what our critics say.
I’ll tell you, I don’t have a lot of fans among the “spend it all and let God sort it out” crowd.

We’ve made some tough choices, but we can point to the difference those choices have made in Texas.

At a time when states like California and New York are raising taxes on their citizens and Arizona considering the sale of capitol buildings we just finished a legislative session with a balanced budget and a tax cut for 40,000 small businesses.

The Legislature also authorized and appropriated $2 billion to build desperately needed transportation projects.

These bonds were authorized by the voters during the last election and are paid for by general revenue.

I’m proud that we were able to do this without raising the gas tax. Instead, we reprioritized the budget.

Has anyone in here had to reprioritize a budget during the last year?

Many of you lead companies that have been around for generations, dealing with the realities of economic cycles.

So you conduct your business in a way that allows for the inevitable ups and downs that are part of any market-driven undertaking.

Fortunately, you have chosen to work in Texas, a state that is still attracting jobs and maintaining unemployment levels a full two points below the national average.

Now, we can never lose sight that those unemployment figures represent Texas families folks that are uncertain about the future but we’re continuing to do all we can to help the private sector create jobs so that we can reach our bottom line goal.

The way I see it, we cannot slow our efforts to keep growing our economy until every Texan who wants a job has a job.

The way we do that is to keep our economy humming along. We do that by making sure we are the best choice for employers.

That includes keeping our taxes low, our regulations predictable and our legal system fair.

We also do it by investing in programs that encourage job growth and making sure our transportation infrastructure can handle it.

Over the course of this year, we’ve had several employers announce they’re relocating jobs from across the country to Texas.

Companies like USAA, Caterpillar and Medtronic are moving more than 1,000 jobs each from other locations into Texas.

Later today, I’m headed to Houston to take part in another company’s announcement that they’re moving 1,000 jobs to Texas from overseas.

To me, this is a strong validation of the efforts we’ve made to keep Texas moving forward.

I think our efforts are also validated by the way that people are voting with their feet.

For the fourth year running, Texas was named the top destination for people who were moving from one state to another.

I’m sure some of your drivers have moved those folks to Texas.

When these new employers and residents get here, we need to be sure that our transportation infrastructure can meet their needs.

Better than anyone, you know that time spent idling in urban traffic is money lost for business and precious time away from family.

So, we will continue to find ways to build the roads Texas needs to thrive and sustain its national leadership in key categories like exports, Fortune 500 companies and job creation. As we go, we will continue to rely on hardworking men and women like you to keep our state moving folks like Russell Stubbs of FFE who is working hard to keep his family business going strong after decades of blood, sweat and tears.

As you move the freight down our highways and byways, connecting suppliers with manufacturers companies, and customers and families with new homes know that we appreciate your contribution to our state’s economic success.

I still spend my share of time on Texas roads, whether that’s between Bastrop and Austin or onto Houston.

Tell your drivers to keep their eyes open for a black Suburban with a Crown Vic behind it. It just might be your governor out there telling the story of Texas, and working to keep this state growing into the future.

God bless you all and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.

Governor's Initiatives:
Increased Road Funding Without Raising Taxes »
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