Will Lawmakers Buy Perry's Tax Cut?

SMU Political Science Professors Cal Jillson and Matthew Wilson talk about Texas Governor Rick Perry's state-of-the-state speech.

By Shelley Kofler

Two SMU political science professors disagree on whether Governor Rick Perry’s call for a tax cut will sail through the legislature. We asked professors Cal Jillson and Matthew Wilson to watch the governor’s state-of-the state speech yesterday and tell us what impressed them.

Standing on the dais in the Texas House, an energized Governor Perry seemed like the head cheerleader at a pep rally as he said the Texas economy was the envy of the country.

“We led the nation out of recession and into recover and remain the nation’s prime destination for employers and job seekers alike,” the governor declared. . .

SMU political science professor Matthew Wilson says tax relief was a home-run message for the mostly Republican crowd.

“I don’t think you’ll have any problem getting tax relief through an overwhelmingly Republican legislature,” said Wilson. “The devil will be in the details on the tax relief.”

Wilson said it wasn’t clear exactly how Perry’s tax relief would be implemented. . .

But Wilson’s SMU colleague, Professor Cal Jillson says giving tax breaks may not play well with a lot of Texans who believe education and other basic programs are still bleeding after funding cuts two years ago.

“I think both Democrats and Republicans are very concerned that we’ve got issues to deal with and that we don’t really have the revenues for a tax cut,” said Jillson.

“People have to actually put pencil to paper and figure out how to fund Texas state government and to rebuild the education funding that was lost last time. And so in the end I don’t think we’ll be dealing with tax cuts in this session,” he said.

Jillson also sees friction building over Perry’s promise to keep Texas out of the federal government’s Medicaid expansion program.

Read the full story or listen audio icon to the interview.

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