Governor Abbott gives 2023 State of the State Address

Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the people of Texas from a rare earth materials manufacturing company in San Marcos Thursday evening. 

His choice of location set the scene for his opening focus, fostering the state’s skilled labor force and less reliability on foreign exports.

The governor went on to list seven emergency items for the 2023 legislative session. He started with property tax cuts.

"Hard-working Texans produced the largest budget surplus in Texas history, and that money belongs to you, the taxpayers," said Gov. Abbott. "We should return it to you with the largest property tax cut in the history of the state of Texas."

The second emergency item mentioned was COVID restrictions. Gov. Abbott said he wanted to prohibit any mask or vaccine mandates and ensure a future pandemic would not result in the same level of restrictions that COVID inspired. 

School safety and school choice were two other emergency items of the seven. 

"I created education savings accounts for special needs students, and it worked so well a bi-partisan, supermajority passed it into law," said the governor. "Now we want to expand that program to provide every parent with the ability to choose the best education option for their child." 

Another emergency item mentioned, bail restrictions. Gov. Abbott called for an end to what he called "revolving door bail." 

The final emergency items mentioned Thursday were border security and fentanyl. 

Hays County, where the State of the State took place, lost four teenagers to reported fentanyl overdoses in 2022.

The governor briefly addressed the power grid, saying that no Texan has lost power due to a grid weakness since Winter Storm Uri, adding that plans are underway to increase grid reliability as the state’s population grows. 

The governor did not mention the Uvalde shooting, but said that reducing gun crime is a focus.

"Some want more gun laws, but the fact is too many local officials don’t enforce gun laws already on the books, and most crimes are committed by criminals who possess guns illegally," said the governor. "We need to leave prosectors and judges with no choice but to punish those individuals and remove them and their guns from our streets; I want a mandatory minimum sentence for criminals who illegally possess guns of 10 years behind bars." 

Making an issue an emergency item allows the legislature to bypass a ban on passing legislation during the first 60 days of a regular legislative session.