Perry signs "Rain Cut" bill
by David Benzion 06/20/2006 12:07 am
Acting quickly in response to widespread flooding across the Greater Houston area, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed emergency legislation to reduce rain by about one-third over the next three days, and provide a number of other weather-related changes, including a one-time, 2,000-percent, Super-Dee-Duper increase in dryness.
"This is a rain cut Texans can take to the bank," Perry said during a signing ceremony early Tuesday morning at TransStar central command.
"Letme be completely clear: for the next three days, one out of every three raindrops that would have fallen on Houston won't, and the ones that do will dry 2,000-percent faster. That's something Super-Dee-Duper, and I'm pretty darn proud of it. How 'bout you?"
The reductions in local rainfall will primarily be recouped through a new state business flood, which will target all corporations and limited liability partnerships, many of which had previously succeeded in remaining dry.
Even before the rain cut bill was signed, however, debate was sparked over how significant the precipitation reductions will be.
Perry, in television and radio commercials that began airing this morning, is claiming that the "average" Houstonian will avoid 2 million rain drops over the next three days.
But Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and other critics say that degree of dryness is much more than most Houstonians will realize. Strayhorn, who is seeking to unseat Perry as an independent challenger, has said precipitation reductions will average a modest trickle, perhaps a puddle or two during that period.
Surveying the damage to Houston via a barroom television in downtown Austin, independent candidate Kinky Friedman assured fellow drinkers that while he could do nothing to actually stop the rain, as Governor he would be willing to stand atop the Astrodome and implore the God of Israel to part the waters flooding the 610-Loop, just like Charlton Heston in "The 10 Commandments."
Meanwhile, Republican nominee and presumptive State District 7 Senator Dan Patrick took to the airwaves late Monday and called for the immediate construction of a regional "horizontal wall" manned by 10,000 umbrella-wielding National Guard troops, to protect the city from, as he put it, "the unrelenting invasion of undocumented water that is crossing the borders of our roadways."