Texans credit natural resources, tax climate for state's fiscal health

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry repeatedly cites the robust Texas economy as a fundamental selling point in his presidential campaign, but many Texans attribute the state's healthy economic performance to factors other than Perry's leadership, according to a new poll released Monday.

The poll, conducted by the University of Texas and The Texas Tribune, found that 65 percent of those surveyed credited Texas' economic success to long-standing factors such as natural resources, a constitutionally-mandated balanced budget and the absence of a state income tax.

Twenty-one percent credited Perry's political stewardship for the state's comparatively vibrant economy, including his adherence to lower taxes, lenient regulation and small government.

The findings suggest that many Texans might agree with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of Perry's leading rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, on the factors behind Texas' economic fortunes.

At a CNN debate in Florida, Romney provoked an exchange with the Texas governor by suggesting that Perry largely inherited many of the ingredients that contributed to the state's economic growth, including Texas' oil wealth, its lack of an income tax, conservative labor laws and a Republican-dominated legislature that promotes a business-friendly regulatory climate.

"If you're dealt four aces, that doesn't make you, necessarily, a great poker player," Romney said.

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