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Abbott Says Budget Must Include Business Tax Cuts

If the state budget doesn't include tax cuts for businesses, he'll veto it, Gov. Greg Abbott told business leaders Tuesday. The new governor also wants to pare back state regulations.

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott gives a speech at a Texas Public Policy Foundation conference on Jan. 8, 2015.

Gov. Greg Abbott vowed Tuesday to veto any state budget that does not include tax cuts for businesses.

Speaking to a group of small business leaders in Austin, Abbott said lowering or even eliminating the business tax, known as the franchise tax, is one of his top strategies for keeping Texas economically competitive. 

“It is a proven fact that if we lower or get rid of the business franchise tax, that is the best way to create new jobs in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “I will reject any budget that is sent to my desk that does not include lower taxes for businesses.”

During the speech, Abbott aired his oft-stated complaint about federal government overreach, but said state regulations also hit the business sector too hard.

“It’s not just the federal government that I think needs to be reined in,” Abbott said. “Overregulation at any level is costly, especially to small businesses.”

Abbott said he wants to pare back some of the 150 or so licensing requirements that various businesses and professionals face to operate in Texas. He singled out licensing requirements for “junk dealers or shampoo apprentices or hair braiders,” which he labeled “quintessential California-esque type laws.”

“That is not Texas-type laws,” Abbott said. “The time has come for us to rid ourselves of that heavy-handed type regulation that we have here in the state of Texas.”

Asked after the speech if the slide in oil prices will reduce money available for tax cuts, Abbott said it was impossible to predict where oil was headed, and expressed confidence that the state can afford to reduce revenues.

“The Texas budget is flush,” Abbott said. “I think we have plenty of money, again, to return funds to taxpayers.”

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