Abbott Declares Five Emergency Items for Lawmakers

Feb 17, 2015

Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Credit Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is out with his list of top priorities for lawmakers in Austin for the next 100 days.

In his first State of the State address, Abbott told a joint session of the Legislature that his emergency items include expanding pre-K education, securing the southern border and ethics reform. And he wants Texas to achieve those goals with lower taxes.

“I will reject any budget that does not include genuine tax relief to Texas employers and job creators. And I will also insist on property tax reduction for Texans,” Abbott said.

Another of Abbott’s top priorities is reducing traffic congestion.

"My budget adds more than $4 billion a year to build more roads in Texas without raising taxes, fees, tolls or debt,” he said.

Some of that money comes from oil and gas taxes, as approved by Texas voters last year. Abbott also calls for stopping the diversion of dedicated road money and for dedicating half of new vehicle sales taxes to roads.

The budget proposal the Governor released today includes a $2 billion reduction in the business franchise tax and a more than $2 billion reduction in property taxes.

Approving a budget is the one constitutionally required duty of the Texas Legislature.

Democrats praised some of Abbott's agenda, but criticized him for not offering "a concrete plan to tackle the many pressing issues that matter to everyday Texans."

"Abbott chose to side with his Tea Party base and ignore any possibility of a Texas solution to cover the more than one million Texans who live without access to affordable health care, including over 40,000 Texas veterans," said Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. "We also didn’t hear anything raising the minimum wage or creating more family-supporting jobs so more hardworking Texans can join the middle class.”