DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - These days, Governor Rick Perry tells anyone who will listen, Texas has bounced back from the recession.
On Wednesday, he told members of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, “The state of our state is stronger than ever.”
A lot has changed since the last legislative session.
Then — cuts were a common theme as lawmakers dealt with the worst budget crisis in years.
Now? The governor wants to give money back.
He told reporters, “That money will do more good in the hands of taxpayers and citizens.”
Governor Perry wants to give $1.8 billion in tax rebates.
But perhaps ironically, the governor says that’s actually against the law. “We are prohibited by the constitution to be able to actually write a rebate to the citizens of the state of Texas.”
So during the session, the governor will be pushing for a constitutional amendment.
Governor Perry’s remarks come amid speculation about his political future.
Will he run for re-election next year? Will he run for president again in 2016? He won’t say until the summer.
But as he often repeats, Texas is better off than the rest of the country.
“You think about what’s happening in the country, job-wise, economic impact-wise, if you were to take Texas out of that mix, this country would be in trouble.”
But there could be trouble for the governor.
In a new public policy poll, only 41 percent of Republican primary voters favor Perry as the nominee in next year’s race.
47 percent say it’s time for someone else to be governor.
Some believe Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is just the man to replace him.
Mr. Abbott addressed Denton County Republicans today.
He sharply criticized the Obama administration for expanding the role and influence of government saying, “The battle for the soul and direction of this country is a fight we can win, a fight we must win, and it is a fight that we will win.”
The public policy poll gave Governor Perry an edge over Abbott 41 to 38 percent — within the margin of error.
But with those voters who say they are familiar with Abbott — the attorney general gains a sizeable lead over Perry, 55 to 33%.
The governor discounted the poll results. “Hey listen, polls are polls, you can take a snap shot and have it say anything you want.”
Instead of polls, analyst say the key question will be what potential donors think about another run.
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