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Grassroots America Comments on Governor Abbott’s “State of the State” Message & Legislative Priorities

Grassroots America Comments on Governor Abbott’s 
“State of the State” Message & Legislative Priorities 

February 17, 2015

Contact:  JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director, (903) 360-2858 or

Austin, Texas – Today, Grassroots America’s Executive Director JoAnn Fleming commended Governor Greg Abbott for several priorities he outlined in his State of the State Address.

Fleming said, “Grassroots America is extremely supportive of the Governor’s rating of border security, transportation funding reform, and state ethics reform as emergency items. We also strongly support several of this other priorities – lasting property tax cuts, business tax reduction, state debt reduction, and parental choice for educational freedom.”

“Grassroots America is pleased to hear Governor Abbott express the importance of reducing the size and scope of state government,” said Fleming. ” We couldn’t be happier to hear that he will veto any budget that does not include property and business tax relief, and we are especially pleased that he has prioritized passing a Constitutional Amendment capping increases to the Texas budget at population growth plus inflation.”

The following are priorities outlined by Gov. Abbott that Grassroots America supports:

  • Doubling state spending on border security, including 500 more troopers and more Texas Rangers to curb criminal activity, along with keeping National Guard troops along the border with Mexico until state police can ramp up their forces to take the Guard’s place;
  • Lasting property tax reduction that is not allowed to evaporate by rising property valuations;
  • Reduction of the state margins tax (we support elimination of the tax);
  • Paying down the state debt;
  • Requiring elected officials to disclose contracts with public entities, “prohibiting lawmakers from voting on legislation from which they could profit;”
  • Giving parents more choices for education to set children free from failing schools;
  • Ending diversions of the motor fuels tax and dedicating half of the existing motor vehicle sales tax to move toward “pay-as-you-go” highway construction without increasing taxes, fees, debt, and adding more toll roads.
  • Increased support for veterans by exempting new veteran-owned businesses from registration fees and the franchise tax for 5 years; waiving licensing exams and fees for veterans; increased mental health support for veterans;
  • Reducing the growth of state government by cutting the Governor’s budget by 10% and requiring most state agencies to reduce spending by 3% and freeze hiring;
  • Making Texas the 45th state in the union to allow those passing existing background checks to open carry handguns.

Fleming added, “There is pressure on the House side of the legislature to have an unremarkable session and even work against the Senate reforms we expect to pass. It is time to get serious about securing the Texas border and closing loopholes that allow illegal aliens to access welfare. It is time to get serious about lasting property tax reform and paying down debt. It is way past time to set children free from failing schools. We believe Governor Abbott set a very high bar for success today. Grassroots America volunteers will be on the ground in Austin working to see that many of these priorities are achieved.”

Instituted in 2009 in Smith County, Texas, Grassroots America is the largest conservative citizen organization in East Texas. Grassroots America has not only become a major political force in East Texas, but the organization has garnered statewide influence due to its legislative work in Austin. Grassroots America’s Executive Director JoAnn Fleming was recently appointed by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to chair his Grassroots Advisory Board.