Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) said Thursday that lawmakers need to work together to create a “revenue and revenue neutral” budget.
Abbott also said he’s willing to work with lawmakers on a plan to lower the state’s income tax rate, but only if it includes a $50-per-person increase.
“I’m willing to compromise with them,” Abbott told reporters at the state Capitol.
“I’ve made it clear that I think a revenue neutral budget is the way forward.
But I want to be clear that the solution is not a tax hike, but a tax cut.
It’s the right approach.”
In an interview with CNN, Abbott was asked about Democrats’ concerns that a budget will increase the cost of living in the state.
Abbot said that if a state can cut spending, “that will make it less expensive for us to live in Texas.”
“If we can’t spend our way out of a budget, we’ll be less able to pay for our schools, less able get the healthcare we need, less confident that we’re going to get the education that we need,” he said.
“So I don’t think it’s appropriate for a state to just raise taxes, which means more government, more debt, more costs for Texans.”
Abbott has said that a “reduction” of state income tax rates is not possible, saying that the current rates are “in the stratosphere.”
The Texas governor, who was elected in 2013, also said that he is open to discussing ways to reduce spending.
He added that he thinks the current state budget is “overly complex” and has a “very high deficit” and needs to be “changed.”
“This budget is so complex, it’s hard for me to make a commitment on that,” he told CNN.
“We have to find a way to work through that.
It will be a difficult process.”
He also said the state will need to “find a way” to “make it more affordable” for residents.
“If you’re a mom who’s making $25,000 a year, you’ve got to be able to afford to go to school, if you’re an employer, if your kids are attending school,” he added.
“If you are in a state that is not so financially strapped, it just makes sense to cut spending and not raise taxes.”
Abbot, who is also the state treasurer, has said he will continue to push for a “balanced budget” to balance the state budget.