Rick Perry fulfills, achieves compromises on 54 percent of his campaign promises

Rick Perry has kept or compromised on more than half of his campaign promises, the Perry-O-Meter says (Austin American-Statesman: Laura Skelding).
Rick Perry has kept or compromised on more than half of his campaign promises, the Perry-O-Meter says (Austin American-Statesman: Laura Skelding).

Gov. Rick Perry, the Republican leader of a GOP-dominated state, has fulfilled or compromised on 54 percent of the 35 promises he made on his way to re-election in 2010, though his vow to stick around through his latest term awaits final determination.

These conclusions come from the Perry-O-Meter, an unprecedented effort to rate the governor’s campaign promises by the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas.

Perry’s results trail those of President Barack Obama, who has fulfilled or reached compromises on about 70 percent of more than 500 promises he made running for the nation’s highest office in 2008, according to
the national counterpart to the Perry-O-Meter, the Obameter.

But Perry, the state’s chief executive since late 2000, has nearly two years remaining in his term.

His mid-term marks could improve if the GOP-majority Legislature embraces some of his priorities that were sidelined in the 2011 session. At the time, leaders focused on balancing the 2012-13 state budget in the face of a multi-billion-dollar revenue shortfall.

Promises Broken that could prove to be Kept include Perry’s call for funding the state water plan and his pitch for toughening the constitutional spending limit. Legislative leaders have signaled interest in funding the water plan, while Perry last year renewed his endorsement of a tighter spending cap.

Significantly, the ratings are based on outcomes, not intentions. A failure to fulfill a promise, regardless of the cause, earns a Promise Broken. When significant progress is made on a promise that is still not completely fulfilled, it is a Compromise. The ratings of In the Works or Stalled signal that more action is likely.

All told, 46 percent of Perry’s promises have been Kept. Nine percent each are marked Compromise or In the Works.

Most of the 16 Kept Promises reinforce Perry’s declared vision of government, largely supported by fellow Republicans, that taxes be eschewed, spending not go overboard and that businesses not be overburdened by unwarranted litigation. Other fulfilled promises underscore his support for getting tough on criminals, namely sex offenders and human traffickers.

Fulfilled promises include Perry’s vow to balance the budget without new taxes.

Other Kept promises include his prediction of a law limiting government’s ability to seize private property and his commitment to measures leashing frivolous lawsuits and providing for legal claims of up to $100,000 to get expedited trial settings and limited discovery in order to get litigants in and out of court quickly.

Perry landed a Compromise on making permanent a temporary provision exempting businesses with revenues of $1 million or less from the business margins tax. Lawmakers extended the exemption through 2013.

His call for a constitutional amendment limiting the growth of state spending to increases in inflation and population is In the Works. That proposal is part of a budget "compact" Perry released in April.

Perry kept 67 percent of his promises related to immigration. Lawmakers in 2011 funded additional border security efforts and stiffened penalties for human traffickers. Perry also declared as an emergency the banning of so-called sanctuary city rules, a Promise Kept, though lawmakers did not agree on a proposal.

A dozen promises, 34 percent, are Broken.

Legislators did not impose criminal penalties on employers who knowingly hiring illegal immigrants nor did they advance a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase taxes.

Also Broken: Perry promises to establish a statewide inspector general; offer businesses a tax incentive of $1,500 for each full-time employee who earns a high school diploma or GED; and impose a four-year college tuition freeze.

Perry’s promise to seek state funding to pay a share of the costs of an education center related to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington is Broken, but two promises to step up aid to Texas veterans are Kept.

Also Kept: Perry's promise to create teams to arrest sex offenders who have violated parole. Perry also promised to work with lawmakers to pass a measure permitting prosecutors to seek sentences of life without parole for certain repeat sex offenders, and he signed such legislation into law.

However, Perry’s promise to monitor high-risk sex offenders after their release from prison is Broken. No such proposal passed into law.

Perry’s failed run for president figures into two promises.

His promise not to run for president is Broken.

His vow to serve out his third full term is In the Works.