The Club for Growth, a limited government advocacy group, gave Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s record on economic freedom a generally favorable review Tuesday.
In its tenth analysis of a 2012 presidential candidate, the Club for Growth found fault with several of Perry’s policies during his time in office, but speculated that should he become president he will move the country in a more “pro-growth” direction.
The Club praised the governor for his low tax, limited spending policies but noted that his record is not without flaws, foremost among them his support for what the Club terms “corporate welfare” to attract businesses to Texas.
“On the bad side, however, Perry has also aggressively used government spending to attract jobs to Texas. During his time in office, Perry has signed into law two major economic development initiatives, the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund,” the Club pointed out.
“The Texas Enterprise Fund, established at Governor Perry’s request in 2003 has doled out $426 million since its inception to attract businesses like JP Morgan Chase and Frito-Lay,” they continued. “A similar program, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, was created in 2005 and signed into law by Perry. That fund has doled out $259 million in capital for “cutting-edge research and technology” entrepreneurs. Economic development initiatives like these, often supported by big business, create huge market distortions in a place that should naturally be a nationwide leader in attracting jobs.”
The Club says that such initiatives indicate that Perry is more interested in business than free markets, nonetheless, they assert that should Perry win the White House the country would likely end up on a more “pro-growth” path. (RELATED: Perry leads in Iowa, Bachmann slipping)
“It is likely that Rick Perry would seek to move the country in a much more pro-growth direction,” said Club for Growth president Chris Chocola in a statement. “However, his support for taxpayer-subsidized funds to lure jobs away from other states and his contradictory stance on energy mandates reveals an interventionist streak rather than a consistent dedication to free-market principles.”
The Club noted that during his long tenure as governor, Perry enjoyed a generally conservative legislature, something he likely will not have should he become president.
“With a more hostile legislature to deal with in Congress — and an even worse economic climate — it is debatable whether a President Perry would maintain his generally conservative fiscal approach,” added Chocola. “In any case, Congress could learn a thing or two about economic growth from the Lone Star State, and that’s partly because of Governor Perry.”