With less than a week to go until Election Day, Governor Greg Abbott has promised to deliver the “largest property tax cut in state history” if re-elected for a third term on November 8.
However, Abbott did not provide details on how or when he would implement such a property tax cut during his campaign stop at the Riviera Cocina & Cantina parking lot in Doniphan Drive in Upper Valley on Tuesday.
Abbott, who took office in 2015, is being challenged by Democrat Beto O’Rourke, a former El Paso congressman who has ousted the governor since February.
During his “Get Out the Vote” campaign hiatus, the Republican governor touted the economy as part of his efforts to court Latino voters. He also spends time attacking his opponent, which made up much of his short 15-minute speech on Tuesday, which followed similar events in Fort Worth and Amarillo earlier in the day.
“Peto has spoken publicly about raising your taxes, spending more of your money — it will wipe out the Texas economy, kill jobs, and stoke inflation to get even more,” Abbott told the jubilant audience.
Texas real estate tax collections raised an estimated $73.2 billion in 2021 and have increased more than 20% since 2017, according to a Texas Tribune story that relied on data from the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
Abbott said he wants to use at least half of the $27 billion budget surplus to provide a property tax exemption. He did not provide that number on Tuesday, merely noting that state lawmakers will have a “budget surplus to work with” when the Texas legislature convenes in January.
The crowd of about 300 supporters waved signs that read “Keep Texas Texas” and “Thank you for Operation Lone Star,” the governor’s multibillion-dollar border security initiative. Some of the signs featured pictures of the border fence and read “Law and Order”.
Besides economics, Abbott focused his speech largely on education and border security, saying that conservative principles led to the country’s success. He boasted of Operation Lone Star, which buses more than 15,000 immigrants to New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago as of mid-September.
“Washington, D.C. is a protected city,” Abbott said. “Once they had only two of the 100 migrants, the plane crashed and they collapsed and cried because they couldn’t stand what they had to deal with.”
He also targeted what he called “O’Rourke’s radical left-wing ideology”.
O’Rourke has been vocal about what he called “extreme” Abbott policies, which include signing into law what was at the time the country’s most restrictive abortion law and approving the unauthorized carrying of handguns, both of which were passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2021.
O’Rourke criticized the governor for increasing access to guns after several mass shootings in Texas, including the August 3, 2019 massacre at El Paso Walmart that left 23 people dead.
This is the second time this year that Abbott has campaigned at an Upper Valley Mexican restaurant with the aim of mobilizing voters. His previous visit was in February, before the Republican primary.