A bold proposal by senior Democratic State Representative Richard Peña Raymond (HD42 – Laredo) exposes Greg Abbott as the counterfeit fiscal conservative he has turned out to be. Over more than six years as Texas Governor, Abbott has talked a big game on tax cuts but in net value has failed to deliver a dime to middle-class Texans.
Most famously, Abbott promised property tax cuts in 2019. However, instead of property taxes going down, Abbott just attacked local counties, cities, and school districts — shifting the blame for high tax rates to local officials. It was political sleight of hand designed to serve up red meat rhetoric to Abbott’s Trump Republican Party base while stiffing normal Texas homeowners.
Calling Abbott’s Tax Cut Bluff
In a letter delivered to Abbott yesterday, Rep. Raymond informed the Governor that he will introduce a bill during the upcoming special legislative session directing $5 billion from the bloated Texas Rainy Day Fund to be used for property tax cuts to Texas homeowners. Raymond’s straight-forward proposal will leave over $6.5 billion in the Rainy Day Fund while giving a big tax break to homeowners without threatening local school funding or other local priorities. It is exactly what Abbott could have called for at any time but instead chose dishonesty and empty promises.
Abbott’s incompetence leaves him owing relief to Texas homeowners
In a press release announcing his letter, Representative Raymond properly reminded Abbott that Texans have suffered badly from damage done by the deadly Texas winter storm and COVID-19, saying “People need and deserve a break. They need some help. A $5 billion property tax cut would help homeowners in Laredo and all across the state of Texas.” Rep. Raymond tactfully, however, resisted laying the blame for the extreme hardships suffered by Texans where it belongs – directly in Greg Abbott’s lap:
- #AbbottFreeze/Winter Storm Uri – At least 150, and as many as 700 Texans, died during the #AbbottFreeze/Winter Storm Uri disaster largely due to Greg Abbott’s failure to understand or address flaws in the Texas power grid. His slow reaction and incompetence during the storm made matters worse, leading to billions in property damage. Then, instead of forcing utility companies and gas providers to eat the cost for their negligence, Abbott is allowing them to charge it all off to Texas homeowners in higher rate payments over the next 20 or more years.
- Abbott’s Deadly Dithering and Denial During COVID-19 Pandemic – Over 50,000 Texans, more than in any war in our history, have died during the COVID-19 Pandemic. At every stage, Greg Abbott has failed. He was slow and indecisive on recognizing the threat. He left hard decisions to protect Texans’ health to local officials. Abbott never established a competent or accountable COVID19 testing program. Even now, with a newer and deadlier strain of the virus gaining steam, Texas has a lower vaccination rate than any other large population state.
Now, Abbott is on the spot
Only the Governor of Texas can add items for consideration during a called special session of the Texas Legislature. Will Greg Abbott follow Representative Raymond’s leadership and embrace his real tax cut for every Texas homeowner by adding the Raymond bill to the special session agenda? Or will Greg Abbott again shrink away from actual middle class tax relief and, instead, keep offering empty promises and Trump Republican pandering?