2010 Texas gubernatorial election voter's guide

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Republican Rick Perry and Democrat Bill White will face off in the race for governor on Nov. 2. The Daily Texan has compiled a list of key campaign issues to help in case you haven’t made up your mind yet.

State Budget

Rick Perry: Perry disputes projections that the state budget deficit could be as high as $25 billion. He believes the number is between $10-11 billion. While Perry has promised to balance the budget without raising taxes, he hasn’t specified what programs or areas of spending he would like to see reduced. During the past two rounds of budget cuts, he asked all state agencies to reduce their spending by 5 percent for 2010-2011 and by an additional 10 percent for 2012-2013.

Bill White: White said he favors an agency-by-agency review of all spending to find waste. He’s also called for public education and higher education to be spared from the brunt of the budget cuts. However, like Perry, White has not offered a detailed plan for dealing with the budget shortfall, saying that any such plan would need to be worked out with legislators.

Public Education

Rick Perry: Perry has proposed changing Texas state law to allow DPS to take away drivers licenses from teenagers who aren’t progressing toward a high school degree. State law currently prohibits students from obtaining a license unless they are enrolled in high school. He’s also promoting an expansion in online high schools and backs a tax credit that aims to provide employers with an incentive to allow workers to take time off to attend GED classes. He has said that he won’t rule out cuts to public education in light of the budget deficit.

Bill White: White has proposed an expansion of technical programs at high schools, such as metal shop, auto shop and apprenticeship programs for students who aren’t intending to go to college. White wants expand a Houston program that focuses on getting kids who have dropped out of school back in the classroom to cover the entire state. He’s also called for an expansion of prekindergarten programs and reducing the emphasis on standardized testing when evaluating school performance. White said that funding public and higher education would be the chief priorities of his budget and would probably be spared massive cuts.

Border Security

Rick Perry:When President Barack Obama came to Austin to deliver a speech on the UT campus, Perry met the president at the airport and handed him a letter that detailed Perry’s complaints about how the federal government carries out border policy. The letter also contained a requested additional 1,000 national guardsmen be deployed along the Texas-Mexico border. Perry has also said that he would not support a bill identical to SB1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, stating it’s “not exactly right for Texas.”

Bill White:White called for the Texas Legislature to approve funds to hire an additional 1,250 local law enforcement officers and state troopers to help secure the Texas border with Mexico. He called on the federal government to help provide the money necessary to help pay for the plan. His plan also calls for a reorganization of the DPS to better tackle challenges along the border and for improving coordination between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies along the border. White has promised to veto any bill that resembles Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
“It would make our communities in Texas less safe, not more safe, if we took our police officers and sheriffs’ deputies off the hard work of combating gangs to do routine immigration work,” said White.

Environmental Protection

Rick Perry:Perry has staunchly defended Texas’s flexible pollution permitting standards, which don’t meet federal regulations as enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.

As a result, the EPA announced this summer the federal government would be taking over Texas’ permitting process. Perry accused the Obama administration of having a “campaign to harm our economy” and supports a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that challenges the EPA takeover. Perry also supports Abbott’s lawsuit against the federal government challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide, which scientists have determined is one of the gases causing global warming. Perry says global warming is based on “bad science.”

Bill White:White has said the state should work with the EPA to reach a compromise on permitting standards. He’s also called the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ineffective.

“In Houston, we realized we couldn’t count on the TCEQ,” White said. “We took matters into our own hands to independently measure and analyze toxic chemicals in the air.”

While White doesn’t talk about whether global warming is occurring, he helped lead the effort to stop the construction of new coal power plants in Texas and said that increasing investment in green energy is essential to cleaning the air and reducing water pollution.