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In First Policy Address, Abbott Wants Limited Rainy Day Fund Use, More Veto Power

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.

Speaking at a campaign event in Brownsville on Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott said he’d like to introduce laws that further restrict the legislature’s access to the state's Economic Stabilization Fund, more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

"I will promote a constitutional amendment that strictly limits the fund to be used only -- either for one, its intended purpose of meeting unforeseen budgetary shortfalls, reducing existing debt, one-time infrastructure payments and expenses related to state disasters," Abbott said.

Abbott's "Working Texans" plan is his first policy address of the campaign, and he also said the governor must be provided expanded veto powers and more authority.

"I’m willing to take on the risks of making the difficult decisions to reduce government spending when at times the legislature may not be able to do so," Abbott said. "But to do that the governor needs the additional authority to make prudent and sensible spending reductions to protect the benefits for our future generations."

Clay Robison with the Texas State Teachers Association said Abbott’s plan will hurt Texas schools.

"That money, instead being declared off limits, which is essentially what he has done, should be something the legislature should consider spending to make the public schools whole," Robinson said.

Robison said enrollment is expected to increase by 80,000-85,000 new students by 2015 and said cuts to public education have not been completely restored from the 2011 legislative session.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.