Will Unity Among The State’s ‘Big Three’ Last Beyond Greg Abbott’s State Of The State Address?

“This is the point at which the governor’s influence traditionally starts to wane.”

February 4, 2019 1:15 pm, ,

Gov. Greg Abbott’s State of the State address is set for Tuesday. The governor will offer his roadmap for what he would like to see accomplished during this year’s legislative session.

Robert Garrett covers the capitol as Austin bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News. He says the governor will likely maintain the harmonious language he has been using to describe his relationship with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – the so-called “big three” of Texas politics.  

“I think Abbott is going to keep hitting on the things he’s been talking about for many months – property taxes, school finance, school safety, gangs, human trafficking and veterans,” Garrett says.

In the legislature, Garrett says budget and education committees are settling down to work. They’re working to develop a budget for public schools, and a means of reducing the rate of property tax growth.

Garrett says Monday’s action in the House will include the naming of budget subcommittee chairs, “which sounds kind of boring, but these people actually write large chunks of the budget.”

Past disputes between the House and Senate haven’t come into the open so far this session, Garrett says. Conflict could arise over standardized testing, teacher merit pay and the proposal by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to raise teacher salaries by $5,000 per year.

As to how Abbott will fare in setting a direction for the legislative branches, Garrett says time to make his views felt could be short.

“This is the point at which the governor’s influence traditionally starts to wane,” Garrett says. “…He presents his budget, he says ‘here’s five or six emergency items’ and he gives an hourlong speech. Then basically, they ignore the governor.”

Written by Shelly Brisbin.