Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that reducing property taxes is his top priority for the legislative special session that begins Tuesday.
In a half hour question-and-answer event with Kevin Roberts, executive vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Abbott said it’s hard for a parent to choose the favorite of his 19 children — referring to the number of items he added to the agenda of a session that he had to call to in order to extend the life of the Texas Medical Board and four other agencies.
But Abbott said, of those 19 priorities, doing something about rising property taxes was, he felt, most urgent if Texas is not to lose its brand as a state synonymous with low taxes and freedom.
“We have to cut property taxes,” Abbott said. “I would think that is the number one issue.”
Abbott, who frequently talks about his mission to stop the Californiacation of Texas, said he is also concerned about the “Illinoisification” of the Lone Star State, and that property taxes in Texas were now “up near” Illinois.
“We do not want to be there,” said Abbott, saying that people are being forced out of their homes because they can’t afford the property taxes.
“It seems like you don’t own your own home; it seems like the appraiser owns your home,” Abbott said. “We must rein in property taxes in the state of Texas.”
Abbott said he liked legislation that would mandate local rollback regulations when a local government seeks to raise property taxes more than 4 or 5 percent. But he said he is open to a better idea if someone comes up with one.