August 30, 2010
By PEGGY FIKAC
AUSTIN — A massive state budget shortfall could take a toll on everything from college financial aid to child-abuse prevention, but GOP Gov. Rick Perry and Democratic candidate Bill White are not saying where they will draw the line on proposed cuts or promoting new revenues to fill the gap.
Instead, each relies mostly on showcasing differences in governing style, attacks on his opponent and an occasional dip into money-saving specifics, mostly from White, when they look ahead to the budget challenge.
The shorthand choice is between an avowed hard-line, no-new-taxes stand by Perry and a let-me-look-under-the-hood approach for White, who emphasizes he would work with legislative leaders in a bipartisan way. . .
The candidates' stances reflect the mood of Texas voters who have made it clear they do not want tax increases, said SMU political scientist Cal Jillson.
"Perry's strategy has always been, 'I will cut to balance the budget. I won't raise your taxes.' He's assuming that people don't equate increased tuition at UT or the price of getting into parks and things like that as tax increases, as, of course, they are," Jillson said.
"Voters sort of understand with Perry, they're going to get what they got. If they're doing fine, they're comfortable with that."
That puts White in a bind, he said, leading him to emphasize scrubbing the budget as a way to free up money for key services.
"He doesn't feel like he can say, 'We've got these serious problems and we've got to find new revenue sources,'" Jillson said. "The political problem for Bill White is that he's honest, but not bold."
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