It was clear from the start of the recent legislative session that Speaker Joe Straus opposed Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda—even going so far as to attack reform proposals the governor campaigned on.

Most notably, Straus told an audience at the University of Texas at Austin that dedicating motor vehicle sales taxes was a “gimmick”—echoing Straus supporter Lyle Larson’s comments a week earlier describing tax relief as “gimmickry.”

During his State of the State speech, Gov. Abbott called on the legislature to cut $4 billion in state taxes. While the Senate prioritized property tax cuts and cuts to the business margins tax before the session even started, the House stalled—waiting until March to introduce a bill to cut the state sales tax instead.

Straus also opposed fully funding the “border surge” initiated by then-Gov. Rick Perry and fully supported by then-Gov. elect Abbott, forcing an early draw-down of National Guard troops from our southern border.

Straus’ opposition to Abbott’s conservative agenda did not come without warning however. Straus’ most vocal supporter in the House, State Rep. Jason Villalba (R–Dallas), promised a group of supporters in late 2014 that Straus would deliver a “progressive” agenda.

Straus Facts is a project of Empower Texans, shining a light on the record of House Speaker Joe Straus.

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