Gov. Abbott pledges largest property tax cut in Texas history

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was sworn in to his third term Tuesday, vowing to cut property taxes, fight for parents' rights in schools and more.

Abbott emphasized the state’s economic prowess and highlighted several priorities on his legislative agenda. They include keeping Texas the number one state for business, providing the largest property tax cut in state history, dedicating state funds to infrastructure projects and strengthening the state grid, advancing parental rights in education and school safety measures, bail reform, and expanding criminal penalties for fentanyl-related crimes.

“Texas is America’s undisputed economic leader,” Abbott said, citing Texas’ ninth-largest economy in the world, whose businesses and workers produce more food, fiber and fuel than any other state in the U.S.

“The gas you put in your truck, the jeans you wear, the steak you eat for dinner, all of it is made in Texas,” he said. The “Made in Texas” brand “is the mightiest brand in America,” he boasted, noting that it’s successfully built “the number one economy in the United States.”

Texas is “now the headquarters of headquarters,” he added, pointing out that there are more Fortune 500 headquarters located in Texas than in any other state. Texas also ranks first for economic development, job growth, semiconductor manufacturing, has the world’s largest medical center, and exports more products than any other state, he added.

Texas’ economy is driven by small businesses that employ nearly half of all working Texans, Abbott said, including “more Black business owners, Hispanic women business owners, and veteran business owners than anywhere else in America. It just shows that everyone can succeed in Texas.”

Of Texas’ record $33.7 billion budget surplus, the largest in state history, he said, it “does not belong to the government. It belongs to the taxpayers. We will use that budget surplus to provide the largest property tax cut in Texas history.”

His legislative agenda includes expanding Texas infrastructure, including roads, waterways and ports, and building the state’s grid.

He also vowed to reform school curriculum “to get kids back to the basics of learning and empower parents with the tools to challenge that curriculum when it falls short of expectations. No one knows what is better for a child’s education than their parents.

“Those parents deserve the freedom to choose the education that’s best for their child.”

He added, “our schools are for education, not indoctrination. Schools should not push social agendas. They must focus on fundamentals.”

He vowed to beef up school safety and expand mental health services to students, vowing to “not end this session without making our schools safer.”

Abbott pledged to continue to fund law enforcement, saying, “In Texas, we believe in law and order, and we support our law enforcement officers – period.”

Last session, the legislature passed a bill Abbott signed into law that triggers the state withholding tax revenue from any city that defunds their police departments. They also passed a bail reform measure that proved to be ineffective. This session, Abbott vowed to end “the easy bail policies that let dangerous criminals back on our streets. We must impose mandatory sentences on criminals caught with guns and on anyone caught smuggling illegal immigrants.”

The legislature is poised to allocate an additional $4 billion to Abbott’s border mission this session. This includes funding to build a wall on Texas soil, deploying Texas National Guard soldiers and Department of Public Safety troopers along the border to enforce state law and targeting Mexican drug cartels who are trafficking “people, weapons, and drugs into our state.”

“One of the worst consequences of [President Joe] Biden’s open border policies is the deadly fentanyl pouring across the border,” Abbott said. Since OLS was launched in March 2021, Texas law enforcement officers have seized enough lethal doses of fentanyl to kill everyone in the U.S. In the state’s largest county, Harris County, more than one person dies every day from fentanyl poisoning.

Abbott promised Texans who’ve lost family members to fentanyl that the state legislature will act. “Our job is to deliver solutions for our fellow Texans,” he said. “That is exactly what we will do.”

He closed by saying, “Texas values freedom, security, and the rule of law so that everyone can feel safe in their home, workplace, and school.”

He also said the state legislature was “on the threshold of a legislative session that will transform the lives of Texans for generations. Together, we will build the Texas of tomorrow, not just for the next four years but for the next century. Together, we will ensure that Texas remains the greatest state in the greatest country the world has ever known.”

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