Expanding rural broadband access, preventing local governments from defunding the police,
and bail reform were all highlighted by Gov. Greg Abbott in his State of the State address last night.
Entirely missing was any statement in regard to prioritizing tax relief for overburdened taxpayers or any other fiscal matter.
While the State of the State is usually delivered to a joint session of the Texas Legislature in the Texas Capitol, Abbott made his remarks on primetime TV from Visionary Fiber Technologies in Lockhart.
In his remarks, Abbott highlighted five issues he would declare as emergency items—a move that would allow the Texas Legislature to fast track policy proposals regarding the issue, as well as laid out a broader set of policy priorities.
But while Abbott’s remarks were rather broad, his remarks on fiscal issues were rather limited.
There was no mention of the Economic Stabilization Fund, spending cuts, or other savings taxpayers might hope their lawmakers would find from reviewing the budget. And likewise, the governor chose to thread the needle in a quickly brewing fight between school districts and lawmakers over education funding as it relates to enrollment.
In short, the Chinese Coronavirus and school district instituted policies regarding it has led to a a sizable number of parents withdrawing their children from public schools. With the students no
longer enrolled, school districts would no longer be eligible to count them for enrollment
purposes, setting them up to receive fewer funds from the state unless the Texas Legislature
were to waive the requirement.
Some lawmakers, such as State Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) have suggested schools
should not receive what would effectively amount to bonus money to educate fewer children.
Public education lobby groups, however, are arguing that schools should receive additional
On this issue, Abbott eschewed the opportunity to weigh into the debate, saying instead that
“This session we must continue to fund education as we promised.”
The governor made no mention of tax relief for the state’s already overburdened taxpayers or
any reform proposal to constrain the power of tax-raising local governments. Indeed, the only
time Abbott mentioned taxes was in a passing remark opposing further increases.
“To say the least, we must balance the state budget without increasing taxes,” said Abbott. “I
want to thank Senators Nelson and Hinojosa, as well as Representatives Capriglione and
Longoria for their financial stewardship this last year to put Texas in a position to achieve those