Gov. Perry's temporary digs costs Texas big bucks

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Gov. Rick Perry has spent almost $600,000 in public money the past two years to live in a sprawling rental home while the governor's mansion is being renovated.

Details are in records obtained by The Associated Press.

The state is facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion.

Perry moved into his temporary home in 2007. A still-unsolved arson wrecked the mansion less than a year later. Reconstruction could take another two years.

Records show Republican Perry, who's seeking re-election, has also spent $130,000 in campaign donations to throw parties, buy food and drink, and pay for cable TV and other services.

Perry, when asked by AP about the costs of living in exclusive Barton Creek Estates, said: "If that's the best cut anybody's got of leadership in the state of Texas, then bring it on."

Critics say Perry and his wife could live in a downtown Austin apartment.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)