Governor Abbott Attempts To Sell Revenue Caps In State Of The State Address

Governor Abbott designates public school finance, property tax reform as top priorities.

Austin, Texas – Today, Governor Abbott delivered the 2019 State of the State address. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez is the Dean of the Travis County delegation to the Texas House of Representatives. Rep. Rodriguez serves on the House Committees on Calendars, State Affairs and Ways & Means, and he currently serves as policy chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

Rep. Rodriguez issued the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s address:

“Governor Abbott identified several priorities that will require bipartisan cooperation in both chambers of the 86th Texas Legislature to address, including public school finance and property tax reform. There is widespread agreement over the need to work across the aisle on these issues.

“However, Governor Abbott’s arguments for his property tax reform proposal are misleading. There is no revenue source designated nor safety net established for local governments in HB 2, only mechanisms that would restrict cities’ ability to raise revenue for funding crucial public services like law enforcement, fire rescue and waste management.

“Governor Abbott is confident in his prospects for success this time around, although he is aiming for even more restrictive revenue caps than those that failed to pass in the 85th Special Session. The only difference now is that Democrats picked up twelve new seats in the Texas House in 2018.

“Speaker Bonnen has assured me that all members will have the opportunity to weigh in on this most important issue, and I will argue for providing Texans lasting property tax relief by significantly shifting the burden for funding public education back to the state where it belongs.

“While I was surprised that Governor Abbott did not so much as mention the ongoing saga over Secretary of State Whitley’s voter purge, let alone name voter fraud as an emergency item, this restraint is understandable given how the scandal has exploded over the past couple of weeks. Democrats and civil rights organizations will maintain pressure on Governor Abbott, Attorney General Paxton and Secretary Whitley as the situation evolves, and I will not relent in my efforts as long as any naturalized American citizen faces the threat of disenfranchisement.

“Finally, Governor Abbott engaged in much signaling on border security and committed to spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on fulfilling the federal government’s responsibility. We have an opportunity to enact lasting public school finance and property tax reform in the 86th Legislative Session, but these and other priorities will require lengthy debate by the legislature and significant investment of public resources. We cannot afford to waste the legislature’s time or the state’s budget on issues that divide us, especially those that do not fall under state jurisdiction, if we are to finally tackle public school finance and property tax reform.

“As Policy Chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, I will work with my colleagues to continue advocating for the state’s large and growing Latino constituency in these important policy debates and for good public policy that benefits all Texans.”