Years ago, when I moved into a three-bedroom trailer in Ohio, it felt like moving on up to me. But then again, I wasn’t coming from a nearly $10,000-a-month, five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion with pecan-wood floors, a gourmet kitchen, three dining rooms and a swimming pool for which taxpayers were footing the bill.
Maybe that’s why Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) ungraciously turned down the  Texas AFL-CIO’s offer to solve his temporary housing problem–the governor’s mansion is undergoing renovation, hence the rental–and save the taxpayers nearly $120,000 a year.
Every penny counts when the state is $11 billion in the hole and is slashing billions from schools, universities, public safety and other vital programs.
Yesterday, the Texas AFL-CIO offered Perry the use of a brand spanking new, 1,100 square foot, three-bedroom, two-bath mobile home with brand new appliances for just $1 a year. On top of that, it is located at the state federation’s downtown Austin offices, within walking distance to the Capitol, cutting down Perry’s big carbon boot print from the black limo entourage that chauffeurs him to work each day from his gated community in the West Austin hills.
At the press conference with the shiny new green and white governor’s-mansion-in-waiting behind her, Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller said that in light of the state’s $11 billion budget shortfall and coming budget cuts that threaten the jobs of thousands of state workers:
On top of the $1 a year rent, Moeller offered to foot the bill for furnishings, utility hook-ups and “other details to make certain the building is comfortable for temporary living.”
That might be tough because Perry’s idea of comfortable living probably goes beyond a nice recliner and cable TV, according to a recent story by the  Associated Press that documents the extravagant life behind the locked gates of his toney Barton Creek Estates.
At Perry’s temporary home (listed for sale at $1.85 million in 2007) taxpayers have spent nearly $600,000 for rent, utilities, repairs, furnishings and supplies since Perry moved in, including:
- $18,000 for “consumables” such as household supplies and cleaning products.
- $44,000 for ground and lawn maintenance.
- $8,400 for pool maintenance.
While Moeller didn’t say if the mobile mansion’s fridge had an icemaker, it was stocked with copies of Food and Wine and complimentary hair products, a nice touch for a politician noted for his well-coifed mane.
To be fair, and we are all about fairness, Perry has cut back on expenses to do his part to help the struggling state budget. The AP reports that Perry’s spokeswomen Allison Castle says Perry now has just one housekeeper and one full-time chef. But there is also a part-time chef and a steward. Not exactly heartbreaking sacrifices or “doing without,” said Moeller.
Mobile homes are good enough for the Texas families that live in 323,000 mobile homes in about 2,400 communities, according the Texas Manufactured Housing Association–plus tens of thousands more on private land. Maybe Perry would reconsider if it came with a gate, one of those nice inflatable pools and an outdoor grill to serve as a back-up kitchen for his one and half chefs.
Article printed from AFL-CIO NOW BLOG: http://blog.aflcio.org.