Politics

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott talks property taxes and border security at inauguration for third term

The Republican governor will serve his term with an expanded Republican majority in the Texas House and Senate, making it unlikely that his priorities will face significant roadblocks.

Michael Minasi

In a year where the state's economy has reached historic levels, Gov. Greg Abbott took the oath of office Tuesday in front of a huge Texas flag while a sea of supporters wearing red, white, and blue cheered.

"Today, we gather on the threshold of a legislative session that will transform the lives of Texans for generations," Abbott said in his inaugural speech from the steps of the Texas Capitol. "Together, we will build the Texas of tomorrow, not just for the next four years but for the next century."

Besides former Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Abbott is only the second governor in Texas history to be elected for a third, four-year term.

"Our great economy has produced another record. We now have the largest budget surplus in the history of our state — But make no mistake, that money does not belong to the government. It belongs to the taxpayers," said Abbott, referring to the state's $32 billion budget surplus for the next biennium.

The governor will serve with an expanded Republican majority in the Texas Senate and the Texas House. GOP control of both chambers means Abbott likely has the opportunity to implement some of his biggest proposals without facing roadblocks.

In his inaugural speech, Abbott vowed to push for the "largest" property tax cut in the state's history, an issue he campaigned on when he ran for office against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O'Rourke.

He also pledged to improve the state’s power grid, reform school curriculum, increase school safety, and enhance penalties for criminals caught with guns or smuggling migrants who crossed the border illegally.

"With the Biden Administration missing in action, Texas is using every tool to protect our state," Abbott said, referencing his Operation Lone Star border initiative.

Patrick sworn in for third term

Abbott's priorities seem to have an important ally and supporter: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

The Republican was also sworn in Tuesday and will lead the Texas Senate for a third term.

Patrick outlined a series of priorities for his chamber in his inaugural speech that closely resembled Abbott's own goals.

"I give you my promise that I will be relentless in protecting the freedom and liberty of Texas," Patrick said. "I'll be relentless in our fight for good over evil."

Former State Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, praised Patrick for his work passing legislation to ban abortions in the state.

"During his tenure, he has championed legislation to protect our liberty ... and most significantly safeguard the lives of the unborn," Lucio said in a speech introducing Patrick. "Under his leadership, Texas has transformed the culture shadowed by death into a culture illuminated by light."

Copyright 2023 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.
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