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June 17, 2023      3:42 PM

SB: Failing to move the needle on property taxes with targeted vetoes, Abbott expands to killing bills passed by GOP school voucher opponents and others

Regardless of how high Abbott drives the legislative body count this weekend, he will run out of bullets on Sunday with an angry mob on his hands that he intends to keep in Austin

“Have there ever been this many vetoes?”

That question has come up quite a bit during this veto period. The answer is yes. Here are all of them going back to 1846, by the way.

But you don’t have to go that far back in time for a lesson in how to effectively use executive power.

After Gov. George W. Bush ascended to the White House more than 20 years ago, then-Lt. Gov. Rick Perry was given the keys to the Governor’s Mansion where the former Texas House member quickly asserted himself by vetoing 83 bills with no warning to lawmakers. “It seemed ridiculous,” said a veteran observer. “A bunch of the veto messages didn’t even match up with the bills.” In the pages of Quorum Report, Mr. Kronberg started in 2001 referring to those as Perry’s “drive by vetoes” because they were an affront to the process.

Unlike the juvenile display of testosterone that Gov. Greg Abbott is now engaged in, Perry was not trying to use the vetoes as leverage to quickly pass something else. Instead, Perry seemed to be making a larger long-term point: There’s a new sheriff in town and y’all better take the man seriously. The message was delivered. In subsequent sessions, members understood that in order to do their work it would be critical to maintain an open line of communication with the Office of the Governor.

Fifteen years later when Abbott assumed that role, those lines of communication went cold and have mostly stayed that way. This weekend, as Abbott has turned one bill after another into collateral damage with veto messages demanding a property tax deal and school voucher legislation, Republican legislators are privately expressing frustration, anger, and a sense of betrayal.

By Scott Braddock

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