- - Thursday, June 23, 2011

TEXAS

Congressman: Perry is in for 2012

At least one fellow Texas Republican thinks Gov. Rick Perry, already flirting with a 2012 presidential run, is getting ready to jump into the race.

“I think he is. But remember I said, ‘I think,’ ” freshman Rep. Francisco Canseco said Thursday during an interview on The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News” radio program.

The San Antonio congressman, like the governor a strong ally of the tea party movement, said the Obama administration is strangling the American economy with overregulation.

“The root of the problem is an enormous growth of government, and what it’s done has created a lot of uncertainty in our businesses so that they don’t want to move one way or the other,” he said.

“There’s just so much going on with all of these agencies, growing their tentacles, interfering with the private sector.”

Mr. Canseco, 61, also sharply criticized the White House’s handling of security along the Mexican border.

“Most of my life … I’ve lived on the border, and I’ve worked on the border. The border used to be a peaceable area and a very lovely area to go and cross into Mexico … go to a restaurant, do some shopping and come back. That’s ended,” he said.

NEW JERSEY

Assembly OKs bill hiking benefit costs

TRENTON — The New Jersey Assembly has passed landmark employee benefits legislation requiring public workers to pay sharply more for pension and health benefits.

The divisive bill passed 46-32 Thursday with support from all Republicans who were present and a smattering of Democrats.

The Senate approved the bill Monday. Republican Gov. Chris Christie is expected to quickly sign it.

The measure requires 500,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other public workers to pay a portion of their health insurance based on income. It also increases pension contributions.

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