Governor Greg Abbott discusses several hot topics with Eyewitness News

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott discussed flood relief, cutting taxes and several other hot topics

We began the conversation talking about the floods that ravaged so much of southeast Texas harmed so many of our neighbors, and the response by local, state, and federal authorities.

"My heart goes out to the families who were affected by this flooding," he told Eyewitness News reporter Tom Abrahams. He said he was incredibly pleased with the response. "I'm unaware of a governor ever getting federal approval as quickly as we got for the aid we received for the federal government."

The federal government is a sticky subject with the Governor. He's campaigned against it, sued it, and decried its efficiency. So we asked why it's okay to reject the feds on one hand and accept aid with the other.

"We expect the federal government, when we have floods and times of aid, the money that Texans have paid to the federal government, that money comes back to us," he said. "Aid is something that is completely non-political. We do challenge the federal government, however, when they violate the constitution. The reason why I sued the federal government thirty-one times is because they refused to follow the constitution. "

The Governor, just months into his first term, grades the 2015 legislative session a success.

On border security, education, and transportation, he says he got the funding he wanted.

"People in the Houston area, and around the state of Texas, are getting stuck in traffic," he said. "We also need to build out our infrastructure to create more jobs. Here again we exceeded even my high expectations."

He's also pleased at a large tax cut for businesses and property owners.
I asked him if that was wise given the drop in oil prices and the state's relative economic dependence on energy.

"On tax cuts we took a very cautious approach," he explained, "because we wanted to make sure these tax cuts would be lasting. So we took into consideration possible budget constraints going forward because of maybe a lessening of oil and gas revenues. And that is why we are keeping $11 billion in the rainy day fund and why we left $3 billion on the table unspent."

We also talked about border security and immigration, and why he won't the Presidents executive order allowing for deferred action on the immigrant parents of US citizens.

"Immigration laws are laws that are to be passed by congress," argued Abbott, the former Texas Attorney General, who sued to stop the order, "not laws that can be fabricated by the president. That is a dictatorship, which is what we don't have in this country."

The Governor said his one disappointment this first session, was a failure to pass all he wanted on ethics reform.

But all in all, he says it's a good start to a new era.

"I was also surprised," Abbott admitted, "maybe really impressed, with the way were able to come in, take care of business, keep spending, put a lid on spending, eliminate regulations, return money to taxpayers, so successfully, so quickly during this session."
Related Topics:
politicstexas newsfloodinggreg abbottimmigration
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