Gov. Rick Perry held a teleconference last week with the anti-tax group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. The organization placed calls to thousands of Texas voters at the beginning of the teleconference, and those who didn't answer got a voicemail from the governor.
"Like you, I know it's essential that we live within our means, whether it's the family finances or the state budget," Perry's message began. "As our economy generates jobs at a rate other states can only dream of, we need to maintain the discipline that got us here. The legislators that we elect, whether they serve in the House or the Senate, need to keep our state living within its means by cutting spending, protecting the rainy day fund and saying no to any new taxes or revenue schemes."
Some members of the Senate apparently took the message as a personal rebuke. The Senate's version of the state's budget spends more money than the House version - though it still cuts $4 billion from public education - and there has been discussion about dipping into the Rainy Day Fund in the Senate. That option seems to be a nonstarter in the House.
One of the Texans who received the call was the wife of Sen. Steve Ogden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
“I don’t appreciate it. It’s not helping,” Ogden told the Austin American-Statesman. “To have them calling my wife trashing me does not make me happy, no.”