Friday, June 03, 2005

Perry Calls on LULAC for a Push

Web Posted: 06/03/2005 12:00 AM CDT
Lisa Marie Gómez
Express-News Staff Writer

Gov. Rick Perry told members of the League of United Latin American Citizens on Thursday they should contact their state representatives and urge them to go back to Austin and finish what they started in January.

The Legislature adjourned its 140-day regular session Monday without reforming the way public schools are financed or lowering property taxes — both high priority items when the session began.

"Here's what I want you to do: send a message to both houses that you want education reform and property tax relief and you want it now," Perry told LULAC state convention attendees at the Hilton San Antonio Airport hotel.

Perry said Wednesday at a bill-signing ceremony in Tyler that he may call a special session by the end of the month. He said Thursday he believes the House and the Senate can agree on a solution if they had more time to work on it.

"I believe that the need for comprehensive education and tax reform did not expire with the previous legislative session and I know there are many legislators who feel the same way," Perry said. "Time may have run out on the session, but time hasn't run out on the need for more money for education and property tax relief for hardworking Texans."

About 150 people, mostly Hispanics, standing in the crowded ballroom responded by clapping and cheering, "Que viva Perry!"

Although Perry said he was disappointed the House and the Senate couldn't reach an agreement, he was pleased that other important legislation was passed, including a measure to reform Child Protective Services.

The governor said, "It's really heartbreaking" to read stories in the media about children who are starved to death or severely beaten due to a system that couldn't protect them.

Perry also talked about launching a series of educational summits around the state to help small-business owners "with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in the long run."

The summits would be aimed at helping experienced and new business owners with help on issues such as learning how to qualify for tax credits, securing growth capital, and finding ways to bid opportunities with Fortune 500 companies.
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