Governor Abbott lays out priorities in annual State of the State address

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Governor Abbott gives his annual State of the State address
Governor Abbott gives his annual State of the State address

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared several emergency items during his 2019 State Of The State Address to make them priorities during the 86th Legislative Session.

Topping the list is education reform, which includes raising teachers' pay.

"Texas must recruit and retain the best and brightest teachers to educate our students. This session, we must pay our teachers more," said Abbott. "We must provide incentives to put effective teachers in the schools and classrooms where they are needed the most. And we must create a pathway for the best teachers to earn a six-figure salary."

How to fund that increase, as well as putting more money in the classrooms, is a central focus of the session.

To do that, lawmakers are considering ways to overhaul the way schools are funded and how much of that money comes from property taxes.

Property tax reform is another emergency, according to Abbott.

"If we are going to keep Texas the economic engine of America, we must rein in a property tax system that punishes families and businesses and prevents younger Texans from achieving their dream of homeownership," he said during his annual address before both houses of the state legislature.

Abbott also stressed the need for mental health legislation, keeping schools and communities safer. He spoke about the need to better prepare, and respond to, natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Texas Gulf Coast in August and September 2017.

"I support ideas proposed by Senator (Charles) Perry and Representative (Dade) Phelan. They extend disaster solutions beyond just funding and beyond just the coastal region. We must create a system that cuts through all the red tape," Abbott said.

He also touched on crime, border security, and gang violence. The Governor expects legislation and funding that will make Texas safer.

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