AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the third time, Gov. Greg Abbott took the oath of office Tuesday during an inauguration ceremony at the Texas State Capitol.
He gave a speech shortly after, which began by thanking Texans for their “support and trust,” and added to the list of those he is grateful for Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dade Phelan, his family and members of the military.
Abbott recited the state song, “Texas our Texas,” which he described as “A hymn that glorifies the exceptionalism of our state. We work every day to live up to that excellence,” and referred to it throughout the speech.
Here are four takeaways from his speech:
Property tax cut plans
Abbott noted Texas has a budget surplus, and expected to use that to help with property taxes.
“We will use that budget surplus to provide the largest property tax cut in the Texas history,” he said.
On Jan. 9, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced a $32.7 billion budget surplus. On Tuesday, Abbott called it the biggest surplus in state history.
This comes as Texas voters approved two property tax relief amendments to the state constitution in May. One froze taxes for the elderly and those with disabilities, while the other increased the homestead exemption.
Texas is the ‘headquarters of headquarters’
Abbott touted the strength of Texas pride as it relates to the economy, outlining that the state’s $2 trillion economy is the ninth largest in the world by gross domestic product. As of the third quarter in 2022, Texas had $2.4 trillion GDP, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“The gas you put in your truck, the jeans you wear, the steak you eat for dinner, all of it is made in Texas. In fact, ‘Made in Texas’ is the mightiest brand in America,” Abbott said. But that’s not all — he also touted the fact that the state is now the “headquarters of headquarters” with more Fortune 500 headquarters than anywhere else in the U.S. As of May 2022, there were 53 Fortune 500 headquarters in the state, according to a governor’s office release.
In the past few years, Tesla has made its home base in the Austin area, joining the likes of Oracle. In November, McLaren, The Americas settled its new HQ in Dallas.
The power grid is still top of mind
Calls for major change came on the heels of a devastating winter storm in February 2021 that led to massive power outages and killed more than 200 people.
“I signed 14 bipartisan laws that fixed the flaw in our power grid,” Abbott said, also noting that while Texas has set new power generation records in the past year, “no Texan has lost power because of our grid.”
He acknowledged there will be more demand as more people move to the state, and promised “we will build a grid that powers our state for more than just the next four years, but for the next 40 years.”
He also noted he wanted lawmakers to work to improve other state infrastructure, including roads, water and ports.
School safety and curriculum
Abbott emphasized school safety and mental health services for students less than a year after students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school.
“We will not end this session without making our schools safer,” he said.
Abbott also noted “we must remember this: our schools are for education, not indoctrination. Schools should not push social agendas. They must focus on fundamentals.”
Texas was No. 1 for banned books this past year, according to a report by PEN America, and numerous Texas schools and libraries have sparked community discussion as books have been challenged.
Last year, the State Board of Education voted to delay updating Texas’ social studies curriculum after facing pressure from conservatives over proposed changes.
“No one knows what is better for a child’s education than their parents,” he said.
Abbott’s speech also touched on support for police, ending “easy bail policies,” and shoring up the border against those crossing and those bringing drugs into Texas.