Rick Perry was a big fan of federal stimulus money when he wasn’t running for president.
Back in 2003, lobbyists under Perry’s direction went to Capitol Hill to lobby the Republican Congress for more than a billion dollars in federal deficit spending on “stimulus.” And they won. A 2005 report (pdf) by the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations boasted of “$1.2 billion in temporary state fiscal relief to Texas” through Medicaid that Perry’s lobbying operation had secured.
Perry even got money to provide healthcare to illegal immigrants.
In the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, for instance, Texas lobbyists successfully pushed to include an additional $47.5 million a year for four years, to help reimburse the cost of health care for undocumented immigrants.
Stimulus money from President Obama’s plan also helped Perry and Texas.
Through the second quarter of this year, Texas has used $17.4 billion in federal stimulus money — including $8 billion of the one-time dollars to fund state expenses that recur over and over. In fact, Texas used the federal stimulus to balance its last two budgets.”
As the Texas Tribune reports:
In 2009, lawmakers initially used stimulus money to fill most of a $3.3 billion hole in what was then the state’s current budget, the one for the 2008-09 biennium (Texas operates on two-year budget cycles, and by law the state budget must balance). Medicaid spending overshot what had been budgeted, and lawmakers had to approve so-called supplemental appropriations to cover the difference. They used federal funds to supplant spending that would otherwise have come from the state.