The Texas jobs governor?

Numbers are tricky monsters, especially in politics, where the only truth is that everything is up for debate. So it is that Texas Gov. Rick Perry can run for president as the biggest, baddest job-creator in the country, even though he really isn’t.

Even before jumping into the White House race last weekend, Perry was barnstorming the country, talking up his economic resume. Consider his June appearance at a Manhattan Republican Party Dinner, when he laughed off the supposed criticism that he was job-obsessed by saying, “Yup, and the numbers back it up. In the last few years … we’ve created more jobs than all the other 49 states combined.” At that dinner, Perry noted that he was standing in for Donald Trump. “He’s known for saying, ‘You’re fired!’ ” Perry said. “We’re known for saying ‘You’re hired!’ That’s what we do in Texas!”

Yes, and no. The New York Times runs an in-depth look at Perry’s economic record today, and concludes that while Perry has kept taxes and housing prices low in Texas, the state has also benefited from the federal government’s largess, as well as a boom in oil and natural gas — factors Perry, as governor, has little to nothing to do with. Oil and gas receipts, the Times notes, finance 20 percent of the state budget.

On Saturday, Times economics columnist Paul Krugman jokingly wondered why, if Perry’s economic record was good enough to sustain a White House run, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick wasn’t also in the White House hunt. After all, the Bay State’s unemployment rate of 7.6 percent bests Texas’s current 8.2 percent unemployment rate. National unemployment currently stands at 9.1 percent.

Last year, the Texas economy grew at a rate of 2.8 percent — faster than the country’s 2.6 percent overall growth rate, but lagging the 4.2 percent growth rate in Massachusetts.

Krugman expanded on this comparison yesterday, labeling the Texas jobs miracle an “unmiracle,” arguing that Perry is selling an economic myth, and pointedly saying that Perry’s Texas recipe of low wages, low insurance rates (more than a quarter of Texans lack health insurance, compared to two percent in Massachusetts), and lax environmental regulation “offers no useful lessons on how to restore national full employment.” That’s because, Krugman argues, the Texas job gains Perry brags about have just barely kept pace with population growth, and while comparatively low wages and lax regulation can give one state a competitive edge over another, the economics of international trade don’t work that way

                                                                                                                                                                    –PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

The Lowell Sun reports six of 11 Greater Lowell legislators are pocketing extra per diem payments this year for their travels to and from the State House. Rep. Jim Arciero leads the list, with $3,146 through the first half of the year.

Southeastern lawmakers want a “no strings attached” casino bill that does not give preferences to Native Americans in the region.

Two Republican lawmakers are seeking a special post audit committee investigation into the troubled Merrimack Special Education Collaborative. State Auditor Suzanne Bump recently recommended that the collaborative be placed into state receivership. Peter Lucas, writing in the Lowell Sun, says the draft audit of the agency leaked to the Globe by Bump was actually done by her predecessor, Joseph DeNucci. Lucas doesn’t include any comment from the Bump camp.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The names of those who signed petitions seeking the recall of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua are posted on pro-Lantigua websites. The mayor’s supporters say they want the public’s help in finding fraudulent signatures, but his opponents say it’s a form of intimidation. The Eagle-Tribune has the story. Meanwhile, Lantigua calls backers of the failed recall effort “sore losers.”

State officials say Lantigua’s girlfriend legally collected heating subsidies from 2006 to 2010, but lost her eligibility when the $100,000-a-year mayor moved in with her last year. The Eagle-Tribune reports the $500 subsidy from last year has been paid back, but says questions persist about when the mayor moved into the condo unit.

Former Boston firefighter Albert Arroyo was acquitted of pension fraud charges, despite the fact that he was taking part in bodybuilding contests while collecting disability for a bad back. An alternate juror explains the verdict by telling the Boston Herald that “people are fighting for their lives” these days. Peter Gelzinis, who recently mocked Arroyo’s trip to the witness stand, assesses the verdict, mouth agape.

The state Civil Service Commission upheld the firing of a Quincy parking attendant who was terminated for drinking on the job. Earlier this spring, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl took a look at the Civil Service Commission and its record in employee appeals cases.

Brockton city councilors pushed forward a plan to add more police patrols downtown during business hours, but some residents wonder what the cost to their neighborhood safety will be.

The Fall River City Council is considering an ordinance to require those running for office to establish residency in the city for a certain amount of time, though they have yet determined what that time frame is.

A former Salem Hospital nurse who died two years ago bequeathed $160,000 to the Salem Council on Aging, the Salem News reports.

Hingham veterans want the Pledge of Allegiance recited at all town meetings to get “a little more…kumbaya going,” in the words of the selectmen chairman who supports the effort.

The Sun Chronicle looks at why Attleboro is just one of ten area municipalities not to have adopted a local-option meals tax.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

As a form of protest, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz urges Americans to go on strike against their politicians and stop giving them money.

The New York Times editorializes in favor of an increased gas tax. It appears that the Times editorial board has not yet had the pleasure of meeting the sitting Congress.

ELECTION 2012

All Things Considered focuses on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s claims of job creation in an interview with Evan Smith, the editor and CEO of the Texas Tribune. Now that he’s officially in the White House race, it’s Rick Perry’s turn to have everything he’s ever said before dragged up and ritually beaten up. First up: This alleged “federalism” he supposedly believes in. The Times checks in with a color piece from the Iowa State Fair. The paper also debates whether the last smirking governor of Texas, George W. Bush, will hurt Perry’s White House chances.

Setti Warren talks with Jim Braude about his challenge to US Sen. Scott Brown.

The president hops in a bus and heads to the Midwest.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

CAI Inc., the owner of a Danversport chemical plant that exploded in 2006, destroying more than 24 homes and businesses, reached a $1.3 million settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Salem News reports.

Evergreen Solar files for bankruptcy protection and announces more layoffs, the Worcester Telegram reports. The MetroWest Daily News story is here.

Sovereign Bank will move its headquarters to Boston, the Globe reports, making it the largest retail bank based in the Hub, but the move is not expected to lead immediately to more jobs here.

Google will acquire Motorola’s cell phone unit for $12.5 billion. The move, hinted at two weeks ago on Google’s company blog, is the latest move in an ongoing patent war with Apple.

A New Brunswick, New Jersey, restaurateur is suing that city’s Red Sox-loving mayor because hizzoner put the kibosh on the proposed eatery’s name of “Buck Foston’s Roadhouse,” which the owner says is “evocative of a century-old sports rivalry between the New York and Boston sports teams.” Via Universal Hub.

Striking Verizon workers talk to The Berkshire Eagle.

CHARITY

A survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy of 180 of the Fortune 500 companies found that expected giving for 2011 by most of the businesses will remain the same as last year.

EDUCATION

Beleaguered Springfield School Superintendent Alan Ingram decides to step down after his contract expires in June 2012. The Springfield Republican says that the city should look for a replacement closer to home since the Oklahoma City transplant came under fire for taking the city’s housing bonus but never buying a home.

HEALTH CARE

WBUR launches website where users can share information and compare health care costs.  

Massachusetts health insurers report a good second quarter for earnings.  

The Berkshire Eagle says that health care providers in the region need to improve coordination of services for the poor.

TRANSPORTATION

A joint investigation by Greater Boston and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting finds nearly half of all roads and bridge projects in Massachusetts are over budget and one-third are not completed on time.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state’s first underwater turbine designed to produce electricity from tidal shifts successfully passed its initial test yesterday in the Muskeget Channel off Martha’s Vineyard.

Chatham residents in Cape Cod National Seashore-owned cottages on a fast-eroding island aren’t happy with the decision to evict them.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The Lowell Sun examines the legal problems with placing restrictions on where sex offenders can live and go.

The state attorney general’s office is charging a Dorchester pub with civil rights violations for denying entry to minorities.

Trial begins for Maine couple accused of redeeming bottles and cans brought in from outside the state, NECN reports.

CHURCH CLOSINGS

The Boston Archdiocese is putting the rectory of a shuttered Scituate church on the market even though parishioners there say Cardinal Sean O’Malley promised not to sell any property until all appeals to the Vatican were exhausted.

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS

The MetroWest Daily News says all the ingredients necessary to produce British-style urban riots can be found here at home.