(Central Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was sworn into office for his third term on Tuesday, promising to cut property taxes, fight for parental rights in schools and more.
Abbott emphasized the state’s economic strength and outlined several priorities for his legislative agenda. These include keeping Texas as the number one state for businesses, providing the largest real estate tax cut in state history, allocating public funds for infrastructure projects and strengthening the state network, advancing parental rights in education and school safety measures, bail reform and expansion of criminal penalties. for crimes related to fentanyl.
“Texas is America’s undisputed economic leader,” Abbott said, citing Texas’s ninth largest economy in the world, whose businesses and workers produce more food, fiber and fuel than any other US state.
“The gas you put in your truck, the jeans you wear, the steak you eat for dinner, it’s all made in Texas,” he said. The Made in Texas brand is “the most powerful brand in America,” he boasted, noting that he had successfully built “the number one economy in the United States.”
Texas “is now the headquarters of the headquarters,” he added, noting that Texas hosts more Fortune 500 headquarters than any other state. Texas also ranks first in economic development, job growth, semiconductor manufacturing, has the world’s largest medical center and exports more products than any other state, he added.
The Texas economy is driven by small businesses, which employ nearly half of all working Texans, Abbott said, including “more black business owners, Hispanic women entrepreneurs and business veterans than anywhere else in America.” It just shows that anyone can succeed in Texas.”
Texas’ record $33.7 billion budget surplus, the largest in state history, “does not belong to the government,” he said. It belongs to the taxpayers. We will use this budget surplus to secure the largest real estate tax cut in Texas history.”
His legislative agenda includes expanding Texas’s infrastructure, including roads, waterways, and ports, and building the state’s grid.
He also promised to reform the school curriculum “to get kids back to the basics of learning and give parents the tools to challenge the curriculum when it doesn’t meet expectations. No one knows what is better for a child’s education than their parents.
“These parents deserve the freedom to choose the education that is best for their child.”
He added: “Our schools are for teaching, not educating. Schools should not promote social programs. They have to focus on the basics.”
He promised to strengthen school safety and expand mental health services for students, vowing “not to end this session without making our schools safer.”
Abbott has pledged to continue funding law enforcement, saying, “In Texas, we believe in law and order, and we support our law enforcement officers—period.”
Last session, the legislature passed legislation signed by Abbott that requires the state to withhold tax revenue from any city that refuses to fund its police departments. They also passed a bail reform measure that proved ineffective. At this meeting, Abbott promised to end “easy bail policies that allow dangerous criminals to return to our streets. We must issue mandatory sentences to criminals caught with guns and to anyone caught smuggling illegal immigrants.”
The legislature is ready to allocate an additional $4 billion for Abbott’s border mission this session. This includes funding the construction of a wall in Texas, deploying Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety soldiers along the border to enforce state laws, and fighting Mexican drug cartels that smuggle “people, guns, and drugs into our state.”
“One of the worst consequences [President Joe] Biden’s open border policy is lethal fentanyl pouring across the border,” Abbott said. Since the launch of the OLS in March 2021, Texas law enforcement officials have seized enough lethal doses of fentanyl to kill everyone in the US. In the state’s largest county, Harris County, more than one person dies from fentanyl poisoning every day.
Abbott promised Texans who had lost family members to fentanyl that the state legislature would take action. “Our job is to offer solutions to our fellow Texans,” he said. “That’s exactly what we’ll be doing.”
He concluded by saying, “Texas values freedom, safety, and the rule of law so that everyone can feel safe at home, at work, and at school.”
He also said the state legislature is “on the cusp of a legislative session that will change 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.”