Gov. Abbott's anti-Austin comments

There are lots of things to love about Austin, but not, it seems, for the Governor of our great state.

AUSTIN - There are lots of things to love about Austin, but it seems that's not the case for the Governor of our great state.

"A bunch of heavy-handed bureaucrats" is how Governor Greg Abbott (R) described Austin city leaders earlier this month.

"Some local governments, like the City of Austin, are doing everything they can to over-regulate," Abbott said while laying out his special session call. 

And last week, he took shots at the city while talking to a group of Bell County republicans. 

"I gotta tell ya, it's great to be out of the people's republic of Austin," Abbott said, inciting laughter from the crowd. 

"When you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different," he said. "Once you cross the Travis County line, then it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom! It's the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin Texas."

But the governor isn't just talking. His actions are backing it up.

The agenda he set for the upcoming special session includes items that seem to target the way Austin does things from protecting certain trees to permitting new construction.

"They are stifling our economy, interfering in job creation, and undermining private property rights," Abbott said when announcing the session call. 

"This is completely false," said Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D) who represents Austin. "If you look at the State of Texas, Austin tends to do better than every other part of the state."

Rodriguez has been in office since 2002. He's used to the occasional Austin-bashing that comes from the Capitol.

"I'm not trying to be too partisan here, but you know, Austin is, as some people say, the blueberry in the tomato soup," Rodriguez said.

But Rodriguez says the governor is now stopping bills aimed at addressing Austin's affordability crisis. Abbott vetoed House Bill 3281, authored by Rodriguez, that would have updated the population regulations on an existing law so Austin could increase the number of homestead preservation districts and reinvestment zones.

The Governor also vetoed a bill by Austin Senator Kirk Watson that would have allowed more low-income housing tax credits be issued to build affordable housing developments in Travis County. 

"Just again, going after Austin, saying Austin shouldn't do things the way Austin wants to do it," said Rodriguez. "Again, it's an attack on local control that's what a lot of this, the special session call, has been about is attack on local control."

"It's not leadership, I'll tell you that much," he added.

KVUE News reached out to Governor Greg Abbott, he was not available for an interview.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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