in Houston, Texas
Taxpayers shell out for Gov. Rick Perry’s temporary housing bill, mansion restoration; Iowa, Connecticut also fixing up living quarters for govs
Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011, 11:41AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
For Rent

Gov. Perry was right. This certainly ain’t Arkansas.

Texas taxpayers have a housing boom on their hands, a sort of controlled detonation centered around the present and future living arrangements of the Texas governor and his family, according to a pair of stories, the latest today by the Texas Tribune.

Seems citizens have been billed about $800,000 or $16,667 a month over the past four years for the Perry clan to live in a 6,386-square-foot home on 3.3 acres in a lovely neighborhood west of downtown Austin.

Among the decorations contributed by taxpayers were a $700 coat rack and $1,000 Neiman Marcus curtains.

The rent alone has cost nearly $500,000, and the governor’s family has spent another roughly $144,000 or $3,000 a month in campaign funds for other various sundries, according to the story.

At the same time, taxpayers are on the hook for $21.5 million for the nearly completed restoration of the governor’s mansion, which was nearly destroyed by an arsonist on June 8, 2008, the initial Tribune story reported. Private donors have contributed another $3.5 million.

The good news is that with the eventual completion of the mansion restoration, Texans might go back to paying for a single governor’s residence. The bad news, according to the Tribune, is that it cost $27,000 a month to live in the mansion before the fire.

And while those numbers might result in taxpayer boggle, it is difficult to gain perspective when so few governor’s mansions are burned nearly to the ground by a Molotov cocktail hurler.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee once generously offered to the Perrys a suggestion that they might live in a trailer, or “modular mansion” as his wife called it, on the mansion grounds as he and his family did in 2000 during a $1.4 million renovation.

Perry demurred. “Texas ain’t Arkansas,” he said.

Civic-minded Iowans want to renovate want to renovate their governor’s mansion, estimating the cost, if you include the brand new geothermal heating and cooling unit, at $1.6 million. They intend to raise the money through donation rather than taxation.

And don’t even get the people of Connecticut started on the governor’s mansion. Connecticut Cottages & Gardens magazine in August announced it would pay to gussy up the mansion for Gov. Dannel Malloy and his family. But the people there are still riled up about the $57,000 they’ve been asked to pay for a new air handling unit, water heater and refinishing the hardwood floors.

Connecticut, we can say with some certainty, ain’t Texas.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of 'For Rent' sign by flickr user Charleston's TheDigitel, used via a Creative Commons license.
Emory Davis
Sunday, 11/27/2011 - 11:11PM

Why is it that we can pay all this money to rebuild the governers mansion and pay for the governer to stay in such a nice place but we are laying off teachers and policemen. I saw a story on the news that stated that the Texas lotto made more money this year than any other year of its exsistance and this is money that is to be used on education but still schools are cutting teachers and programs,so you tell me what is wrong with this picture.

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