It is clear from his “Working Plan for Texans” that Greg Abbott is going to run for governor as a tea party candidate all the way. His call for stronger fiscal reforms in a state that has a long history of low taxation and low spending would have an adverse impact upon the state’s economy. This is what happens when a candidate for governor who has little knowledge of state government announces his intention to rachet down spending to minimalist levels. Abbott’s ideas will have the effect of constricting the state’s economy rather than expanding it. He says next-to-nothing about public education, for example, nor does he address health care; in other words, he ignores the two biggest and costliest areas of state services. The only solace one can take in Abbott’s vision for the future of the state is that it resolves the question of whether he would be better or worse than Rick Perry. Astonishing as it may seem, I think he is worse than Perry.
The question must be asked: Is Abbott’s vision what Texans want for their government — or their families? Is this really a state whose leaders have no interest in improving the lives of its citizens? Is Texas really going the way of Arkansas and other backward states where all that matters is guns? I do not believe that Greg Abbott’s vision for Texas is the vision shared by most Texans, but that’s why we have elections and horse races.
As for his relationship with the Legislature, his desire for expanded line-item veto authority will create tension with the Lege. If Abbott continues on the course he has set, the 2015 session will bring a mammoth constitutional confrontation between the governor and the Legislature. The Legislature is not going to sit by and allow the governor to install himself as the czar of state government with control over the purse strings. Abbott has no experience in dealing with the Legislature, and he will find out soon enough that lawmakers have their own ideas about who is in charge of state fiscal policy, and they don’t think it’s the governor.
AP Photo | Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner