In a continuation of a story that just never seems to get old, Governor Rick Perry has handed in another bill for the security detail that accompanies him whenever he sees fit to travel. The latest bill is for more than $140,000 - a large chunk of which was for a trip he and the missus took to Italy during the fall of 2012.
In rejecting calls that he reimburse the taxpayers of the state for the expenses, Mr. Perry claims that he has no say in whether the DPS sends security with him when he leaves the state. After all, he's still the governor.
And that raises a very interesting point. Mr. Perry's job as governor is to serve as the head of state for Texas. As governors go, he has very little power - the most powerful statewide office is that of Lieutenant Governor since he appoints committee chairs, presides over the State Senate and gets to break tie votes. Of course he's only paid the same as any other legislator and doesn't get to travel to exotic locales and bill the taxpayers for the security detail.
Mr. Perry's job, on the other hand, only seems to entail denying requests for stays of execution and traveling.
Mr. Perry claims his trip to Italy was official state business. But that seems a bit fanciful - being that Italy is a whole other country and that this thing we call the Constitution tells us that the federal government gets to handle foreign diplomacy.
And that trip to the Ferrari factory and the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monza? Well, since Austin was hosting the latest iteration of the United States Grand Prix (and getting a chunk of taxpayer money to do so) that was business.
If the taxpayers are expected to pony up for the cost of Mr. Perry's security details, then the least we can demand is that we are only billed for security provided on official state business. It's not the taxpayer's job to pay to stoke Mr. Perry's ego while running a pathetic campaign for the White House or while he's traveling around Italy looking at Ferraris.
But then that wouldn't comport with Mr. Perry's view of limited government, would it? As I've stated before, Mr. Perry believes that the role of government in regulating business and protecting the environment should be limited. He believes the ability of the government to fund public education and to provide assistance for those in need should be limited. But he sure as hell doesn't think his ability to dip his grimy little paws into the state treasury should be limited.
And now Gov. Goodhair is heading out to California to prostitute himself in an attempt to attract businesses to relocate to Texas. We should be getting the bill for that one soon. I heard that little tidbit on KUHF (the local NPR station) yesterday. Of course, since the mission of the KUHF "news" department is not to offend anyone, no one bothered questioning whether the trip had anything to do with his duties as governor. Pretty much par for the course for the boys and girls on Cullen Boulevard.