Saida Laktiri, front left, of Garland, Texas, meets with Roni McConachie, front right, a recruiter with EFA Processing, during a job fair in Plano, Texas, in July. From 2006 through 2010, the unemployment rate in Texas soared from 4.4% to 8.3%. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press / February 9, 2011)The so-called Texas Miracle is in trouble, demonstrating that fashioning fiscal policies strictly along low-tax lines doesn't protect you from budget deficits or business slumps or make your residents necessarily happy or healthy.
By Michael Hiltzik
Billions of dollars in government red ink. Classroom spending near the bottom of national rankings and heading down. Desperate appeals to Uncle Sam for emergency funds to stave off cuts to the poor and elderly.
All this points to the obvious question: What's the matter with Texas?
Texas? Yes, the so-called Texas Miracle is in trouble. Unemployment soared and state tax revenue came in sharply below estimates during the recession, and the deficit mushroomed.
California's Legislature has won national renown for its dysfunction, but Texas lawmakers know how to squeeze dysfunction until it squeals. The late Molly Ivins reported years ago that when a good-government group ranked the Texas Legislature 38th among the 50 states, the reaction among knowledgeable Texans was, "You mean there are 12 worse than this?"