With less than one week until Election Day, Gov. Greg Abbott promised to deliver “the largest property tax cut in the history of the state” if reelected to a third term on Nov. 8.
Abbott, however, did not give specifics on how or when he would implement such a property tax cut during his campaign stop at the Riviera Cocina & Cantina parking lot on Doniphan Drive in the 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 consistently out-raised the governor since February.
During his “Get Out the Vote” campaign stops, the Republican governor has 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 brief 15-minute speech Tuesday, which followed similar events in Fort Worth and Amarillo earlier in the day.
“Beto has openly talked about increasing your taxes, spending more of your money – he would decimate the Texas economy, kill jobs and stoke inflation to increase even more,” Abbott said to the cheering crowd.
Property tax collections in Texas raised an estimated $73.2 billion in 2021 and have risen more than 20% since 2017, according to a Texas Tribune story that relied on data from the Texas comptroller’s office.
Abbott has said he wants to use at least half of the $27 billion budget surplus to provide property tax relief. He didn’t provide that figure Tuesday, only mentioning that state lawmakers would have “a budget surplus to work with” when the Texas Legislature reconvenes 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 multi-billion dollar border security initiative. Some signs featured depictions of the border fence with “Law & Order” written on them.
Along with the economy, Abbott focused his speech largely on education and border security, saying that conservative principles have led to the state’s success. He boasted about Operation Lone Star, which had bussed more than 15,000 migrants to New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago as of mid-September.
“Washington, D.C., is a sanctuary city,” Abbott said. “As soon as they got just a couple of 100 migrants, they crashed and they crumbled and they cried because they couldn’t take what they had to deal with.”
He also took aim at what he called O’Rourke’s “radical leftist ideology.”
O’Rourke has been outspoken about what he has called Abbott’s “extremist” policies, which include signing into law what was at the time the nation’s most restrictive abortion law and approving the permittless carry of handguns, both of which the Republican-controlled Legislature passed in 2021.
O’Rourke has criticized the governor for increasing access to guns after several mass shootings in Texas including the Aug. 3, 2019, massacre at an El Paso Walmart that left 23 people dead.
This is the second time this year that Abbott has held a campaign event at the Upper Valley Mexican restaurant aimed at mobilizing voters. His previous visit was in February ahead of the Republican primary election.