By Lance Winter
Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t mince words as he laid out plans he’d like to see the Texas Legislature address during its 88th session which began Jan. 10.
Abbott spoke to lawmakers and a group of businessmen and women during his State-of-the-State address in San Marcos at Noveon Magnetics — a manufacturing company that specializes in rare earth minerals — on Feb. 16.
Abbott began by touting the state's successes: Ranked first in the nation in new jobs — 1.9 million, first in exports, and the ninth largest economy in the world.
“We’ve been the number one state for doing business, both large and small, every year since I’ve been your governor,” Abbott said to thunderous applause.
Abbott also spoke of cutting property taxes, saying he would like the state to spend $15 billion from its surplus to make that a reality.
“Property taxes are suffocating Texans. We must fix that this session,” Abbott said. “Hard-working Texans produced the largest budget surplus in Texas history. That money belongs to you — the taxpayers. We should return it to you with the largest property tax cut in Texas history.”
Abbott said cutting property taxes is an “emergency item” this session.
The governor said he was also introducing an emergency legislative item that would ban Covid restrictions, “forever.”
“These actions will help Texas close the door on COVID restrictions,” he said. “We must also change how government responds to future pandemics, including requiring the legislature to convene if another pandemic is ever declared.”
Abbott called for laws to prohibit mask mandates, COVID-19 vaccine requirements, or governments from closing businesses or schools because of the virus.
Regarding education Abbott was firm.
“Let’s be clear: schools are for education, not indoctrination,” Abbott said. “Schools should not push woke agendas — period.”
He said parents deserve access to curriculum, school libraries and what their children are taught.
“Now it’s time to provide every parent with the ability to choose the best education option for their child,” Abbott said. “To be clear, under this school choice program, all public schools will be fully funded for every student.”
In terms of school safety Abbott said another school year cannot go by without making schools safer. Therefore, the governor made it an emergency item.
Abbott concluded speaking about bail reform restrictions, specifically making bail requirement tougher for suspected criminals.
“We must shut and lock that revolving door by passing laws that keep dangerous criminals behind bars and holding accountable the judges that let them out,” Abbott said.
Abbott said he would also like to see a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 years for anyone caught smuggling people across the border into Texas.
The governor became visibly emotional when he addressed the Fentanyl crisis saying it was time to crack down on drug cartels by prosecuting overdoses as murders and designating fentanyl-related deaths as poisonings