AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a controversy hanging over the state Capitol — how to improve a $3 billion program approved by voters, with the goal of finding cures for cancer.
The problem began when the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas approved an $11 million grant without a proper review.
During an exclusive interview at the state Capitol, Governor Rick Perry acknowledged the troubles. ”You had bad management, bad decision-making on the management side,” he said. “I think this will be addressed very quickly.”
Governor Perry says the agency needs to focus on getting actual cures to the marketplace.
There are three separate investigations to determine whether any laws were violated. Some legislators have now filed bills to ensure more accountability at the agency.
As lawmakers consider a budget, the Governor wants them to keep a tight rein on spending and will even cut the budget in his office by 20-percent, from general revenues.
Mr. Perry said, “We’re making some clear decisions to send the message we can do our job and save the people of Texas some money.”
The cuts include two of his economic incentive programs, the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund, which have come under fire from critics who claim they’re nothing more than slush funds.
CBS 11 reporter jack Fink asked the Governor about accusations the programs are examples of crony capitalism. “Well, I don’t disregard it. I try to educate people that we’re either going to be competitive or we’re not,” he said. “Now for those individuals who say the State of Texas should not be involved in any incentive program, then we’re going to disagree.”
Governor Perry said the Texas Enterprise Fund and Emerging Technology Fund have spent $450 million over 10 years, and attracted nearly $16 billion worth of development and 56,000 jobs.
He claims that without the programs, a wealth of development and jobs would have gone to other states. ”You put yourself at a total disadvantage to other states out there who are going to use the incentives and lure businesses.”
Governor Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history, and is up for re-election in 2014. He has said he’ll announce next summer whether he’ll run again.
The Governor may also decide to run for The White House in 2016 after his failed bid last year.
For now though, Mr. Perry says he’s just focused on getting through the legislative session.
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