Rick Perry is mighty proud of the economic record he takes credit for building in the state he governed longer than anyone else in Texas history.
The former governor says Texans shouldn’t panic over the plummeting price of oil. West Texas crude now sits at about $32 per barrel.
The state’s diversification will help the state weather this economic storm, Perry said, citing what he called the “Texas miracle.”
I get that Perry wants to assure Texans that we’re going to be all right, unlike an earlier oil price crash that all but killed the state in the late 1980s.
Let’s get real here. The state still relies heavily on oil and natural gas to help fund state government at many levels.
Comptroller Glenn Hegar has been accused of offering what used to be called a “rosy scenario” with regard to the revenue the next Legislature will have when it convenes in January 2017. Perry is on the comptroller’s side.
Yes, the state has diversified significantly over the past 30 years. Amarillo and the Panhandle suffered grievously back then when the bottom fell out of the oil market. I was in Beaumont when it happened and witnessed the wholesale shutdown of petrochemical plants. That crash hurt. A lot.
Will this crash bring as much pain as the previous one? Probably not.
Amarillo’s burgeoning medical community will head off some of the misery. So will its growing service-sector economy. Pantex remains a top job provider.
Let’s not dismiss the pain and suffering that will befall public school systems — as well as public colleges and universities — that rely on funds generated by oil and natural gas royalties.
Gov. Perry says he knows what an economic downturn looks like.
The one that might be coming to Texas won’t look exactly like the previous one, but it’ll bring its share of hurt to Texans.