Texas State of Affairs: Town Hall Meeting with Governor Abbott
By Sandra Long Toups
Governor’s Town Hall Meeting: Property Tax Reform, Border Security, Safer Schools
Governor Greg Abbott held a call in Town Hall Meeting open to all Texans on Thursday March 28, 2019. House Representative Jeff Leach, District 67, was the moderator. The Town Hall session was not only transparent, but a community success. Abbott is leading Texas forward into continuous economic growth along with safer borders and safer schools. Abbott accepted and answered questions from his constituents for 90 minutes. The governor also conveyed and encouraged all the callers to get involved by calling, emailing or tweeting him, along with their Senate and House Representatives. Our governor iterated “We are Texans and (Texans) do more than just wait for the Federal Government.” The Governor was encouraging “Active Participation” from his constituents. He stated, “government is more than just about the people you elect but it’s about you and your life.”
Representative Leach Moderates
Representative Jeff Leach was a perfect moderator throughout the meeting. His loyalty to our amazing governor, our great state of Texas and as a public servant was not just apparent but admirable. Leach was confident and enthusiastic in assisting Governor Greg Abbott achieve a successful live telephone Town Hall. His professional stamina was flawless. Leach echoes our Governor and the majority of Texas: save our future babies and stop infanticide. We support life in Texas. Leach has filed an Infant Protection Act.
“If we lose Texas we are in big trouble. We will not tolerate infanticide.” – Governor Abbott.
Leach was in agreement with our governor in the importance of the public getting involved. His catchy phrase of “Refuse to Snooze” speaks to the fact that we have a choice to make when our alarm clocks go off.
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg.
“If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with the life you don’t want.” – Kevin Ngo
Property Tax Reform
Callers were asked to take a poll questionnaire prioritizing the many issues at hand during the townhall. Property Tax Reform seems to be a main concern for several Texans. Many elderly Texans are being taxed out of their homes. While the majority of first-time home buyers are left weary of purchasing a new home due to high Property taxes.
Governor Abbott assured the many callers that he along with the House and Senate members are strategizing a plan to cut Property Taxes by 15% in the first year and less each year to follow. “Government should not tax you out of your home,” were Governor Abbott’s reassuring words to a caller. The governor also stated that the tax reforms will benefit business owners, as less shut downs are a positive for our Texas economy.
The governor is also seeking to implement reform to Property Appraisals that are skyrocketing. Our governor wants everything on the table concerning Tax Reform. See past Northeast Texan News articles concerning property taxes: The ABC’s of Rollback Taxes and Texas Lawmakers Unveil Property Tax Reform Plan SB2 and HB2.
Governor Greg Abbott Is Putting Everything at The Border but The Kitchen Sink!
Border Safety was another important issue for callers. Many Texans are concerned with border safety as more and more illegal immigrant caravans approach our borders bringing along dangerous gang members. Greg Abbott has already spent countless hours and billions to assure the safety of our state. He has spoken to the Secretary of Homeland Security in Washington, as the building of the Wall is in progress. The governor already put the National Guard, Security Cameras, Border Patrol Officers, Boats, Planes, and Federal Officers along the border. In addition, billions have already been spent on border security.
As stated by Ted Cruz’s bill in the US Senate for the seizing of assets from criminal enterprises, funds are allocated from these seized assets, to the State and Federal governments, from the US Marshals Service. See Northeast Texan News Article: State and Federal to Allocate World’s Kingpin El Chapo’s $14 Billion. Governor Abbott could also allocate these funds to assist Texas in alleviating the cost of security. In addition, funds could be directed towards not only helping secure Texas, but towards the security of our Country as the border wall continues to be built.
School Safety and Teacher Pay
Governor Greg Abbott and his team of members in the House and Senate are working on multiple strategies to secure our schools, students, teachers and the public. Unfortunately, we are all familiar with the Santa Fe school shooting in Texas. Governor Abbott was present within hours after the shooting. He was consoling students, parents and teachers. Abbott was communicating with law enforcement on site. He immediately held three days of round table discussions to remedy the ongoing crisis.
Abbott wants to also focus on mental health issues some youth may have by providing a Wellness Program. He is aware that each community has different wants and needs and not one size fits all. That said, he is working with his team to have a strategy and customized formula for each school district. He wants to provide a better environment for school children, teachers, parents and the public. Abbott stated, “no child should be afraid to go to school.” No parent should be afraid to take their child to school.
Both the House and the Senate are currently working to increase teacher pay. Our teachers rank #27 in favorable pay. The governor wants to be smart with the dollars spent. He wants to focus on improving areas of reading and math so our future leaders are ready for college or a bright future with all the necessary tools. His focus is not just improving the ability of our teachers, but he is also working for better retirement benefits for teachers, pension and health care.
Harvey Storm Relief
Some callers had questions and concerns about Harvey Relief Updates. He again, reassured the hurricane victims of the multiple strategies to not only rebuild a stronger infrastructure and deeper and wider bayous. Additionally, he stressed the importance to come together as a community, whether in Harris County or Galveston, as the caller was from Galveston. Part of the relief money came from FEMA, 10 million came from HUD, and he said both the House and Senate are collaborating to bring communities together as we rebuild.
Voter Fraud, Sanctuary Cities and MS13
Texas is trying to do everything possible to combat voter fraud. Absentee Voting presents a big issue of encouraging criminal voter fraud. Effective strategies are in place and in legislation to correct as well as provide an aggressive force against voter fraud in Texas. Texas will never be a Sanctuary City. We follow the rule of law as Texas is against such unlawful behaviors. We are encouraged to immediately report any crime pertaining to harboring criminals to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation and or prosecution.
Governor Abbot also spoke about having new anti-gang centers in Waco and Tyler to rid those regions of dangerous gangs. Texas has already developed a winning strategy with our six Texas Anti-Gang Centers. These TAG Centers are hubs where law enforcement agencies work together to crack down on gang activity and put criminals behind bars.
Banning Chick-fil-A in San Antonio Airport
Governor Abbott also fielded a question from a concerned individual about San Antonio banning Chick-fil-A from their airport due to the company’s religious beliefs. The caller expressed genuine concern for what comes next. Abbott informed the gentleman that steps had already been taken against the San Antonio City Council by Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton. See The Northeast Texan News article: Paxton Investigates San Antonio Banning Chick-fil-A; Asks Transportation Secretary Chao to do Likewise
Governor Abbott made these remarks as he was enjoying his own Chick-fil-A meal and drink much to Representative Leach’s dismay, as he did not have his own.
Attorney General Ken Paxton is quoted as saying that “The City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance. The city’s discriminatory decision is not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law.”
The First Amendment protects individuals as well as closely held companies from governmental restrictions based on their religious status or views. Additionally, federal regulations governing grant money that is provided to the San Antonio airport prohibit religious discrimination.
Our Governor is a Hero when it comes to God and Texas!
Whether you are lucky enough to see our governor in action or simply read about him and the phenomenal job he is doing, he takes a strong stance for Liberty.
For example, he proudly and heroically stood and fought to keep the Ten Commandments up on the State Grounds of our Capitol. Abbott has won the Governor’s Cup for Economic Development seven years in a row. He stands for the people and by the people in his encouragement of citizen involvement. He stands for human life and will not kill babies. Unlike Governor Cuomo of NY who does so to “grow his state’s economy” (a special kind of stupid). Abbott will not tolerate infanticide.
He fights the socialism that is creeping in on us. To emphasise, he stated, “We will not allow Socialist Policies in the state of Texas.” He noted that the Democrats first called themselves Conservative Democrats, then Liberal Democrats, and now Progressive New Socialists! If your party constantly needs to redefined itself, you have a bigger problem than just a title. Over the course of his Town Hall, the Governor reiterated several times that Socialist Policies have no place in Texas.
Sandra Long Toups is a Freelance Reporter for The Northeast Texan Online News