AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott kicked off his campaign for a third term as Texas governor Saturday making new promises should he be elected again in November.
Abbott, who made the announcement at the Hispanic Leadership Summit in McAllen, said the GOP continues to spread “the message that in the heart of Hispanics, they really are Republicans, and together they will keep Texas red.”
Among his promises, Abbott said he would work to further lower property taxes collected by local governing entities with a Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.
Currently, property taxes are based on appraised values which follow the market. In order to maintain or reduce property taxes, local elected officials need to adopt a rate that is equal but opposite to the rate at which values are increasing. While many entities may reduce overall rates, if it is not to the same degree as values increase, property owners pay higher taxes.
Abbott also promised to invest more public education, touting the state’s recent move to direct $5 billion in federal coronavirus funding toward education, as well as recent legislation that increases teacher pay.
“We realized that education is about more than just funding. It's about effective strategies that lead to results,” Abbott said. “We will fund our schools but we expect our schools to provide a good quality education for our children.”
The governor made a nod to the battle over which education topics should be taught in schools, saying as governor he would restore parent's voices when it comes to their students’ education.
“Parents matter and we will put parents at the forefront of children and the future of Texas,” he said.
Abbott made a number of other promises, including about senior protection through reduced costs of living and other programs; fully funded police forces; and stronger border security with continued wall construction along the Texas-Mexico border; among others.
“Mark my words, freedom is on the ballot,” Abbott said.
Prior to the November election, Abbott faces a crowded March 1 primary with seven other candidates on the ballot including Allen West, a former state representative and former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
If on the November ballot, Abbott could face Beto O’Rourke, who gained national attention in 2018 when he nearly unseated Sen. Ted Cruz, losing by 3 percentage points.
O’Rourke, who made a campaign stop in his hometown of El Paso on Saturday, said his top priorities include expanding medicaid, fixing the state’s electric grid, gun regulations and legalizing marijuana, which he said would reduce needless arrests for a substance legal in many other states.
“Instead of pouring money in the walls, how about into our schools, or into our infrastructure, or into the bridges that connect us with our sisters and brothers in Ciudad Juarez,” O’Rourke said Saturday. “I’d like to see that giving forward.”