Governor Abbott highlights what his office is working on moving forward

Governor Abbott's goes State of The State

In his State of the State address Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott laid out his “emergency items.” This list included things like increasing teacher pay and hardening school infrastructures.

“With regard to let’s say hardening our schools, we’re looking to using a possible money that’s in the rainy day fund, a fund for one time projects,” Abbot said. “Because of the booming economy in Texas, we have great revenues. But what we want to be sure that we do is we dedicate revenues to for teacher pay that will be there year after year so that they won’t be able to lose those raises in the future.”

However, not addressed in the speech was the recent news from the Texas Secretary of States office. A list of 95,000 non-citizens votes cast in our state since 1996, a number that has since decreased by 58,000.

“The federal law and state law required the states to constantly go through voter list to make sure that there are no illegal voters on those lists and so what happened is the secretary of state issued a list based upon data the secretary of state had and based upon data that the Department of public safety provided to them that was based upon driver’s licenses,” Abbott detailed. “Then that information had to be matched with local voter rolls to determine who was and who was not a citizen.”

Governor Abbott went on to explain that moving forward, the goal is to encourage everyone who is eligible to vote to go out and do so. The flip side of that, they plan to make sure those who aren’t eligible to vote are not able to.

But something weighing on the minds of residents here in the Crossroads, Hurricane Harvey recovery funds.

We reported earlier this week, Senator Cornyn expressed his frustration with the Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget for failing to release nearly $4.4 billion in recovery funding to Texas.

The governor explained these funds have been appropriated for our state and others hit hard by disasters.

“They need to create standards not just for Texas before all the other states that are receiving these HUD grants. Which includes Florida that was hit by a storm, Puerto Rico that was hit by a storm. California hit by fires as well as a few other states. This is just a long drawn out process. But is one issue that we’re working on is trying to find ways to cut through all of this red tape that slows down the process of getting the money to the people who need it so quickly.”

Abbott went on to explain a separate grant was made available for areas like Victoria, and Rockport to address those immediate housing needs more quickly.

“The state of Texas already provided a more than a billion dollars, but very importantly to your audience. The money that has not been coming forward right now is really mostly targeted toward the Houston Harris County area,” Abbott said. “There was a separate HUD grant that was provided that covers the region around the Victoria area, making sure that the housing needs are going to be able to be addressed more quickly”

Finally, we discussed a hot topic; Border security, an issue causing a stalemate in Washington for lawmakers as we approach an impending shutdown. I asked Governor Abbott about the Lieutenant Governor’s suggestion of having Texas pay for the wall and what his thoughts were.

“Well, listen, everybody is grappling with the challenge of a broken immigration system and a border that’s not secure. As we talked tonight, there are caravans of migrants just across the border from Eagle Pass and it with a very porous open border for them to be able to come in. As a result, it is essential that Congress finally step up and do his job, and that is to pass reforms that fix a broken immigration system, pass laws, and appropriate money that will help Texas secure border understanding this, and that is as we speak. Also, the state of Texas is spending almost a billion dollars every two years for us to be securing the border.”

“As we gather tonight, we have Texas Department of Public Safety Officers, National Guard troops on the border, making sure that Texas is doing everything it can to keep our borders secure,” Abbott said.