Gov. Rick Perry, R-Tex., wants to send unused state taxes back to Texas citizens, he announced today, addressing the Texas state legislature for his annual "state of the state" speech in his 13th year as governor.
The governor, who launched a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, spoke for more than a half hour before Texas lawmakers, touting accomplishments and job creation, education, and innovation while also insisting that the "burden" Texas places on its residents must be lightened
Part of his plan for doing so involved getting rid of "the practice of using dedicated funds and specific fees for anything other than the purpose for which they were intended" -- specifically when it comes to taxes.
"If we don't need taxpayer money for that purpose, let's not collect it at all," Perry said. "We've never bought into the notion that if you collect more you need to spend more.
"Today, I'm calling for a mechanism to be put in place so when we do bring in more than we need, we'll have the option of returning tax money directly to the people who paid it. Currently, that's not something our constitution allows. We need to fix that."
Perry has not yet announced his political intentions going forward, though speculation has swirled around both the possibility of another bid for reelection and/or another presidential bid. In his remarks today, the longtime governor reiterated popular Republican themes, including calls to "put our financial house in order," "scrub the budget for any waste and redundancies," and encourage economic growth by letting people "keep their money," rather than raising taxes.
He also called for moving $3.7 billion from the so-called "Rainy Day Fund" for a one-time investment in infrastructure programs.
Notably absent from his speech, however, was any discussion of immigration reform -- an omission made even more prominent by the fact that President Obama is delivering a major address on the subject today in Nevada.