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Rick Perry’s Texas Is First — In Illiteracy, Repeat Teen Births, Pollution…

by David Badash on October 7, 2011

in News,Politics

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Rick Perry’s Texas is #1 in some of the worst measurements a governor could have. The citizens of Texas are stuck with a governor who has delivered to them the highest rate of illiteracy, lowest rate of high school graduation, highest rate of repeat teen births, one of the highest rate of adults under correctional control, one of the worst environmental rates in the country, the highest rate of per-capita executions, and the list goes on and on and on.

And when Perry’s Texas isn’t #1, it’s close to the west, in areas like population living below the poverty line, rate of food-insecure children, teen pregnancy rate, teen birth rate, money funded for the mentally ill, and on and on and on.

The list below is based on one at Freakout Nation, but that list has been making it’s way around, and originally came to us via The New Civil Rights Movement reader AndyBlue, who says he’s been compiling it from other commenters as well. The New Civil Rights Movement did our best to verify each item, and made a few minor corrections, like adjusting the rank a notch or two based on verifiable data. Other items we did not feel qualified to debate, and removed some, or left them as there are contradictions, which are also dependent upon the year or method of measurement. Suffice it to say, some might think these numbers are sufficient to indict Texas Governor Rick Perry for malpractice, not for the nation’s highest office.

The Tax Foundation reports:

Texas’s tax system has many notable aspects. The state imposes no individual income tax and no corporate income tax. Texans pay just 7.9 percent of their income in state-local taxes, 45th highest nationally and below the national average of 9.78 percent. Their tax structure is the 13th most business-friendly in the country, according to our most recent State Business Tax Climate IndexTexas’s Tax Freedom Day-the day of the year when Texans have paid all their federal, state, and local taxes-came on April 7, five days before the national Tax Freedom Day. Between 2000 and 2008 (the last year data is available), Texas faced a net inbound migration of 586,000 individuals representing $12 billion worth of income.

AOL’s Daily Finance reports:

Texas ranks #7 in least-green states. “Among Texas’ other poor rankings are 50th for the EPA’s toxic exposure score, 47th for total toxic chemicals released into waterways, 46th for cancer-causing chemicals released, 45th for developmental toxins released, and 49th for reproductive toxins released. The state also produces the greatest amount of hazardous waste, generating 13,461,911 tons in one year.”

CNN reports:

While it’s true that Texas is responsible for 40% of the jobs added in the U.S. over the past two years, its poverty rate also grew faster than the national average in 2010.

Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty. Some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released this week. The national average is 15.1%.

And being poor in Texas isn’t easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn’t provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.

For residents living in poverty, the state doesn’t offer many services or even make federally-funded benefits easily accessible.

For instance, it has one of the tightest income limits — less than 12% of the poverty level — to qualify for federal cash assistance payments and one of the most meager benefits, a maximum of about $260 a month for a family of three, said Celia Cole, senior research analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income residents. The program serves less than 6% of poor children in the state.

Texas’ Medicaid program covers few non-disabled adults, instead providing health insurance mainly for children and senior citizens. And only an estimated 55% of those eligible for food stamps had signed up for the program in 2008, among the lowest participation rates in the country.

Experts chalk up the minimal services and take-up rates to Texas’ anti-welfare attitude. In the Lone Star State, you are expected to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

“The Texas mentality is you don’t ask for help,” Ferguson said.

And people want Rick Perry to do this to America?

Anyone who wants to do some research on these items, or point us to other “Texas Miracles,” let us know and we’ll be happy to include them in the list as long as we can verify the data.


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