AUSTIN (KXAN) — Greg Abbott is the incumbent Republican governor of Texas. He was elected to the post in 2014 after he was the longest-serving Texas Attorney General in history. He faces Democratic challenger former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.
Before serving as governor and attorney general, Abbott was a Texas Supreme Court justice and district judge in Harris County.
Gov. Abbott says he will advocate for a property tax revenue cap at 2.5 percent which would restrict how much a local government could raise their taxes. His idea allows for voter approval to go over the cap.
“A revenue cap and lower rollback rate could work in concert to strenuously protect against property tax increases,” Abbott wrote on his website.
He also wants to “improve the rights of property owners in the property tax appraisal process and the property tax appraisal protest process” to make it easier to dispute property taxes and increase transparency in the taxing process.
For the school finance part of the property tax system, Abbott in the past has advocated for rewriting the funding formula’s and reforming the “Robin Hood” recapture system of school finance.
“Texas has added more than 500,000 new jobs. More Texans have jobs today than ever before in the history of our state,” Abbott wrote on his website.
Earlier in 2018, numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show the poverty rate has dropped to its lowest rate in a decade.
Abbott believes economic growth is delivered through cutting taxes. In his first term, he has signed budgets that cut taxes more than $4 billion, including a 25 percent cut to the business franchise tax.
Abbott has signed state budgets that dedicate $800 million in state resources to the Texas-Mexico border which includes new equipment, technology and personnel.
He signed legislation requiring state agencies to use the E-verify program to ensure people working for the state of Texas can legally work in the country.
Abbott also advocated strongly and signed the controversial Senate Bill 4. The law requires local officials to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers and allows local officers to ask citizenship status during arrests.
“Greg Abbott knows that for you to be truly free — for you to succeed at work, or at school, or as a parent — you need to feel secure,” he wrote on his website.
Gov. Abbott led and supported lawsuits against then-President Obama’s expansion of protections for children brought to this country illegally as well as their parents, known as DACA and DAPA. He said he did so on constitutional grounds, saying Congress needed to pass new immigration laws.
However, he sent a letter to the Trump administration asking for the end of the controversial family separation policy.
“This disgraceful condition must end; and it can only end with action by Congress to reform the broken immigration system,” he wrote.
Abbott has opposed the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state program that would offer government health insurance to low-income Texans.
He has advocated for increased access to telemedicine, disability services and increasing funding to women’s health programs.
He pushed for loan forgiveness programs to get mental health professionals into rural areas of Texas.
On the abortion question, he is Catholic and identifies as pro-life. He advocates, supports and signed laws limiting abortion procedures in the state of Texas. He has pushed for policies banning partial-birth abortions and increasing funding to encourage Texans to adopt unwanted pregnancies.
As governor, he has advocated for reforming public education funding formulas, mostly by ending the “Robin Hood” recapture measure which uses taxes from property-rich areas of Texas to help pay for schools in property-poor areas.
He has advocated for several “school choice” policies which would allow families to use public tax dollars for private and religious schools.
His first legislative session as governor, he declared pre-K an “emergency item” and pushed for additional state funding for local districts to expand their early childhood programs.
As governor, he has opposed restricting access to firearms. He signed a law allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.
He also signed a law allowing Texans to carry handguns openly in public.