Texas AFL-CIO to Gov. Perry: Won't You Be Our Neighbor?

Reporters listen to $1-a-year offer to Gov. Rick Perry by Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller

May 19, 2010
News Release

Contacts: Becky Moeller
Or Ed Sills, (512)477-6195

Texas AFL-CIO to Perry: Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?

Statement of Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller at a news conference offering Gov. Rick Perry alternative housing while the Governor’s Mansion is rebuilt:

In light of the state’s historically huge budget shortfall and new cuts that will place hundreds if not thousands of state employees on the brink of losing their livelihood, the Texas AFL-CIO stands ready to offer Gov. Perry an opportunity to trade down. We are offering this modest but perfectly comfortable substitute for the extravagant $10,000-a-month, taxpayer-funded rental mansion beset by coyotes.

In keeping with the reality faced by Texans in tough economic times, Gov. Perry might find that using taxpayer dollars to live like an ordinary Texan, rather than like a king, sends a better message.

We are offering the use of this h for $1 a year, compared to $10,000 a month plus many other expenses at the rental mansion. If Gov. Perry accepts our offer, we will work out furnishings, connections and any reasonable details to make certain the building is comfortable for temporary living.

Although it was just delivered, we have tried to bring some homey touches to the manufactured home you see here. Among the amenities, Gov. Perry will find Food and Wine Magazine, a 50-year-old stuffed German shepherd from my personal collection that is not a coyote, and a short-term supply of hair product.

As the Governor well knows, it’s hard to beat this location. The home is within a short walk of the Capitol and in view of the people’s Mansion. The Republican Party of Texas folks next door can join the Department of Public Safety officers across the street in keeping an eye on the place.

The fire at the Governor’s Mansion was a tragedy that has kept the governor out of our neighborhood far longer than anticipated. But we think it is a continuing mistake for Texans to spend an additional $600,000 – and counting – in mansion rent when the state could easily have bought the governor a very comfortable temporary home in that price range, then sold it at little net cost.

Worse yet, when the state has announced $1.2 billion in immediate budget cuts that affect public schools, universities and other core programs, we deplore the symbolism of a governor’s saying he is “cutting back” on luxury by suffering with one-and-a-half cooks. A governor who wouldn’t take $555 million in federal funds to help Texas workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own hasn’t hesitated to live in a gated millionaire’s community on the taxpayer dime.

We would humbly assert that a taxpayer-funded residence in a millionaires’ gated resort, a large swimming pool, five bedrooms, gourmet kitchen, seven bathrooms and three dining rooms does not constitute “doing without”.

What you see before you may not be fit for would-be royalty, but it is a decent compromise in tough times. At this time, I would like to offer a tour of the facility. I will then be happy to take questions.



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