At the inaugural ceremony on the north steps of the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were officially sworn in for their second terms.
Both Abbott and Patrick took office in 2015 after sweeping electoral victories for conservatives in 2014. At the time, Patrick told attendees of the first inauguration that it was a “new day in Texas.”
Indeed, during their first term Patrick and Abbott have both worked to advance conservative priorities in the legislature. With the recent election of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and the sun having set on the decade of the Joe Straus speakership, it is once again a new day.
“This is going to be the greatest session ever,” Patrick told attendees, after taking his oath office.
Echoing other recent comments, Patrick said his biggest priorities would be to reform property taxes, give teachers pay raises, and reform education and school finance.
Patrick noted that Nelson had filed Senate Bill 3 shortly before the ceremony, which he described as giving a $5,000 pay raise to teachers, and that the first version of the Senate budget would soon be filed.
“That’s our mission, to work together with the House,” he added.
To that end, Patrick took the unprecedented action of inviting newly-elected Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen to the podium, where he congratulated Patrick and honored the members of the Texas House who were in attendance.
Abbott, Patrick, and Bonnen, often referred to as Texas’ “Big Three”, have already held meetings in which they have discussed school finance reform and property tax relief as their shared goals as the legislative session kicks off.
“I’m going to do my part, working with the Speaker and the Governor,” promised Patrick.
Bonnen later took to the microphone again to introduce Gov. Greg Abbott.
Abbott’s speech, much like Patrick’s, focused heavily on education.
“I want to make this very clear. We will do what no one thought possible. We will finally fix school finance,” said Abbott.
“We will pay our teachers more and reward achievement in the classroom. We will reform a school finance system that robs one district to pay another. We will put our schools on a pathway to having all 3rd graders reading at grade level. We will prepare our high school students for college or a career.”
“This session, we must finally rein in skyrocketing property taxes in Texas,” Abbott declared, taking the opportunity to double down on his commitment to property tax reform.
“Some people say we can’t afford property tax reform. I say we can’t afford not to reform a system that punishes homeowners, crushes businesses, and cripples our schools,” he continued. “A state as prosperous as Texas should not punish seniors who have worked their entire lives to retire in a home they have already paid off. And it shouldn’t force middle and low-income Texans out of their neighborhoods.”
The 86th Legislature is still in its infancy, gaveling in just a week ago today. The 140-day session runs through Monday, May 27th.