Rick Perry's $487 Million Slush Fund Doesn't Need Your Stinkin' Audit
By Dana Liebelson
Watchdog groups have long argued that the Texas Enterprise Fund, a taxpayer-funded program that has awarded more than $487 million to big businesses that set up shop in the Lone Star State since 2004, is a slush fund that allows Gov. Rick Perry to reward allies and political donors. Despite the criticisms, the Texas State Auditor’s Office hasn’t examined the fund’s finances in at least a decade. Now a bipartisan group of state senators is pushing a bill that would subject the Enterprise Fund to an independent state audit. But Perry’s office won’t explain whether the governor backs the idea. Besides, it says, the state’s top three Republicans have everything under control.
“Every project must receive unanimous approval from the governor, lieutenant governor, and House speaker,” says Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Perry. “The Legislature reviews the state’s incentive funds every two years, and has continued to see the value in reauthorizing them every biennium since their inception.” Actually, lawmakers are not planning to give any more money to the fund in the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to the San Antonio Express-News. (There is still about $140 million left in the kitty.) And although Nashed says that Perry “will review any bill that makes it through the process and onto his desk,” she wouldn’t say whether he supports or opposes the bill that has been introduced.