Governor Rick Perry opened his speech saying Democrats and Republicans in the legislature have made Texas a better place.
"We might diverge on how to get it done, but I have no doubt that each of us is committed to doing what is best for a state that each of us love."
Perry says lawmakers should never lose touch with Texans who are working hard, stretching a paycheck, living through hurricanes and tough economic times.
"Will our economy continue to grow, or will we let taxes and regulatory encroachments creep upward to choke off that innovation? I say we hold the line. Will they find their property taxes spiraling continually upwards because of a broken appraisal system? I say we give that system a dose of accountability and transparency and restraint. Will they find themselves stuck in traffic, paying too much for dwindling supplies of power and water? Not if we act."
To that end, Perry told the legislature he wants to freeze a student's college tuition rate for four years, so that entering freshmen won't see their tuition increase during college. And Perry says in-state tuition rates should also apply to all veterans residing in Texas.
Perry also devoted considerable time to safety and disaster preparedness.
"We simply cannot in good conscience allow our citizens to shiver in a tent or sweat in the sun as Washington drags its feet on housing and reimbursements. To that end, let's create...(applause)...let's create and fund a disaster contingency and relief account that gets locals the resources they need when they need them."
And although there's no budget deficit, lawmakers will have less money to work with this biennium. Perry says the 2010-2011 budget will be the most significant challenge as the state house and senate hammer out the details.
"The state of our state is good. Her character is strong, her people are great. And I believe now more than ever before that our best days are yet to come. God bless you, and through you, may God continue to bless the great state of Texas."
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.Î¾