SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is a big fan of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
“The country is doing great, the economy has never been stronger, we have great job creation,” Abbott told KTSA’s Sean Rima Wednesday afternoon. “The part I enjoyed the most — and I think is the most important — is when the president came out and was emphatic: the United States of America will never be a socialist country.”
The governor stated one of the most important challenges the country and Texas both face is the border.
Abbott cited a recent massive drug bust in Arizona highlighting the need for a more fortified border.
“As we speak right now, we are having a challenge with a caravan down in Eagle Pass on our border,” Abbott stated.
He called on the federal government to do its job.
“This is something where Texas must remain vigilant — the United States must step and do its job. This is the federal government’s job to secure the border.”
The governor also discussed the state of Texas and the issues the state government needs to address.
One top priority is education.
“As great as Texas is, we need to concede that we need to do a better job in educating students.” the governor said in the interview. “There are certain areas in the state that have done a great job in using strategies that pay their best teachers more, put their best teachers in their most challenging classrooms and achieve outstanding results.”
He said schools in San Antonio and Dallas have seen success using this method — but he said more money is needed to bring in better teachers to see this success statewide.
“A zip code doesn’t define the success of a student,” Abbott stated. “A good quality teacher does.”
Speaking of money, the governor said the state must stop the ever-increasing rise in property taxes.
“Property taxes are too high,” said Abbott. “Everyone who buys a home realizes it.”
But the governor said that impact goes beyond property owners.
“You may be thinking ‘Well, I don’t own a home, why should I care about property taxes?’ I’ll give you two reasons. You’re living somewhere — either in a rented house or an apartment. The cost of your apartment goes up because property taxes go up. When you go to a store to buy something, the price of those goods there goes up because the property taxes that merchant has to pay goes up,” explained Abbott.
He then said San Antonio’s growth pattern is a perfect example of how that plays out on a local level.
“Think of the San Antonio layout,” the governor told the radio host. “The reason so many people are moving way out, way north and west of [Loop] 1604 is because they can’t afford to live inside 1604 because property taxes are going up so much. It’s forcing seniors who have lived in their homes in their entire lives and paid off their home not be able to stay in their home. It’s making it difficult for military veterans who live on a fixed salary not to be able to stay in their home.”
But Abbott stated there is a solution.
“We have a plan to contain property taxes in Texas that must pass.”
The governor told Rima that he is constantly communicating with the White House about the happenings in Texas and plans to be with the president when he makes a trip to El Paso next week.
The host asked Abbott if he could pass along a message to the president, stating the talk show host thinks he’s really cool.
“Every time I see him, he says ‘How Sean’s doing?'” Abbott told Rima, who questioned the governor’s seriousness. “He doesn’t stop talking about you.”
Listen to the full interview on the Sean Rima page.