One state program which, as a state senator, I was proud to support and help create was a program to collect child support from deadbeat parents. The program originated at the federal level to encourage states to create a program by which the state would employ attorneys to collect overdue, delinquent support for dependent children from parents who refuse to accept their responsibility as parents. The program has saved children from unnecessary suffering as victims of divorce, and has saved the country untold millions in payments for welfare for dependent children.
The program was started and resided in the office of the State’s Attorney General under the direction of Jim Mattox. Since then, the program has grown exponentially and has generally been well-received by all citizens—other than those deadbeats who get caught in its net. Unfortunately, under the leadership of our current Governor, or lack thereof while he was Attorney General, an entirely different story is unfolding. Our recently elected Governor Greg Abbott was our Attorney General for a long time. He used to boast his job was to go to work, sue Obama and then go home.
Unfortunately, as Attorney General, he was not doing a very good job of minding the store. The T-2 System (as it was styled) was to be a dynamic, new and innovative program. But, with obvious encouragement from then-Governor Rick Perry to privatize some government services, Abbott allowed a contract to be let to improve the T-2 System collection of delinquent child support.
The contract to "improve" the T-2 System was to cost $1.8 million dollars. After the initial letting of the contract, the contract was renewed five different times until the cost to Texas taxpayers ballooned from $1.8 million to over $46 million dollars. The secondary tragedy to this shameful episode is the fact the majority of the workers hired to create this great new system were working in India, not the United States.
Worse, the current cost of the system is now estimated at $86.4 million—and experts who have examined the system and pronounced it virtually worthless say it will cost another $50 million to fix the problems.
So much for good old Greg Abbott, Rick Perry and Republican conservatism. The entire episode should be a huge embarrassment to those who support our Governor who was elected by promoting his conservative credentials.
When the early Roman people started getting uneasy about their leadership in the world, instead of addressing serious problems of the people, the Roman officeholders created games, building the famed Coliseum as a great venue of entertainment for the masses. Perhaps too many of my Republican friends would find it difficult to learn this lesson from history, but it seems disturbing familiar to note that—while serious problems run the gamut in Texas— our conservative Governor Abbott is today giving us “games” by spending over $19 million dollars of taxpayer money to lure entertainment to Texas. His latest fiasco is investing $2.7 million dollars of our money in an effort to bring wrestling shows to Arlington, Texas.