ON THE "City & State" front, the Chronicle today headlines this banner story: "2 legislators: Audit Perry's pet funds."
Here's a better idea:
Get rid of the governor's pet funds.
The Texas Enterprise Fund and Emerging Technologies Fund are operated out of the governor's office, Ericka Mellon reports.
So why do we have these funds?
The market offers perfectly adequate and sensible ways to capitalize new businesses, through investments and loans.
The only possible justification, even in theory, for investing or lending the taxpayers' money to new businesses is that (a) they are worthy and (b) the market has refused to capitalize them.
But are they worthy? If they are, why won't free-market investors back them? And who in his right mind thinks political hacks can do a better job of evaluating these companies than bankers, venture capitalists, and others who do this kind of work for a living?
More likely, the evaluations are political. The governor picks winners and losers. My guess are the winners are his friends and the losers are not.
How is this any different from the president's woebegone investments, loosely speaking, in companies such as Solyndra?
These funds are slush funds. Get rid of them.
And while we're at it, the Texas Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas is also a political slush fund.
Shutting it down, unfortunately, is all but impossible because Texas's political leadership engineered the installation of that miserable pig trough in the Texas Constitution, and the people foolishly went along.
The left hates these programs because it hates Governor Perry. Conservatives should hate them because they're bad policy, incompatible with the idea of limited government.
For future reference, our big-government Republicans have also managed to turn the Teacher Retirement Fund of Texas into a slush fund. More about that later.