The governor spoke to a joint session of the Texas Legislature, touting job creation, a reformed education system, and the state as one of the top places in the country for economic recovery.
But he warned lawmakers they don't have forever to start making a difference in the lives of Texans.
"As legislators, you get 140 days to make that difference, and the time is ticking."
Gov. Perry said Texas has six of the nation's top 20 strongest performing metro cities. He said Newsweek Magazine listed four Texas cities on the top 10 list of cities ready for recovery.
The numbers continued.
"About 10 years ago, a small group of entrepreneurs in Los Angeles created a company called LegalZoom that grew rapidly," Perry said. "When it came time to expand, they looked to Texas, where they found the right mix of factors including our workforce, our quality of life, and investments from the Texas Enterprise Fund and the city of Austin."
Perry praised the Texas Enterprise Fund for bringing jobs to Texas.
But as the state faces a deficit, Perry said his office, which he considers an agency, cut $34.6 million. He urged lawmakers to suspend non-critical entities like the Historical Commission or the Commission on the Arts until the economy improves. Perry proposed consolidating functions, such as moving the Department of Rural Affairs into the Department of Agriculture.
The governor did not fail to mention the emergency items he's spoken on since the beginning of the legislature.
"We need to protect property ownership with tougher eminent domain laws," Perry said. "We need to protect the unborn by fast-tracking the sonogram bill, so that women are fully informed. We need to hold Washington more accountable, with a bill calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
With education on the minds of many Texans, and the possibility of school districts facing massive layoffs, Perry said increased accountability in schools has genuinely reformed education because of a focus on the basics like math, science, English and social studies.
"The quality education in our state is getting better," Perry said. "Let's create an incentive program for employers who encourage their employees to continue their high school education. Let's offer employers a $1,500 tax incentive for every employee who earns their diploma or GED after receiving two hours off per week with pay to study or go to class."
Perry said public colleges and universities had 200,000 more students enrolled in 2010 than in 2008.
Another major item of discussion as of late: border security.
"We should continue our investment in border security because the threat of cross-border violence has only grown," Perry said. "Our relationship with Mexico predates our establishment as a state, and our proud Hispanic citizens are friends, neighbors, partners and family."
The governor wants to strengthen the ties to Mexico through law and order. He asked for Texans to continue to pray for Tiffany Hartley, who was present at the address, as she deals with the loss of her husband, David, on Falcon Lake last fall. Perry called for an end to sanctuary cities, and said it is time to address the issue of illegal immigration.
"I tell you it's frustrating that we're still having these border security conversations," said Perry.
Although some Democrats say they agree with some of the governor's points, they don't all see eye to eye. In a meeting following the State of the State address, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Senate Democratic Caucus chair, said, "We absolutely agree with the governor that we are blessed to live in this state."
But two props -- an oversized check for $10 billion "signed" by the governor to Texas tax payers with "Insufficient Funds" written across the top, and the picture of an elementary-aged girl with a sign that read "Will work 4 Pre-K" -- painted the picture of how Democrats really feel.
"Those in control remain out of touch with the uncertainties facing so many families," said Sen. Wendy Davis from Ft. Worth. "Governor Perry has been waking up in a very different reality."
The reality, Davis cited, is that of nursing homes facing closure, teachers losing their jobs, and that one in five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan cannot find jobs.
Davis also said home sales have declined for four straight years, Texas has the highest percentage of those without health insurance, and that the state is nearly last among the 50 states for those who do not have an education.
"Texas is sprinting to the bottom," said Davis, who recalled that the state budget in 2003 "was balanced on the backs of children."
"The first rule to being in a hole is stop digging. Perry traded his shovel for a backhoe," House Democratic Caucus chair, Jessica Farrar of Houston, said.