Gov. Abbott vetoes lawmaker pay in Texas budget, approves everything else

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott used a line-item veto to nix Article 10 of the Texas budget that controlled pay for the Legislative branch. It was the only article of the budget he didn’t approve, a proclamation from his office said Monday.

He followed through on a threat he issued in May after Senate Bill 7, the state’s elections overhaul bill, failed to pass due to Democrats walking out and breaking quorum. Abbott is likely to make the bill part of the assumed special session he has yet to announce.

Article 10 in the budget dictates pay to members of the Legislature and their staffs, plus offices like the state auditor’s office and sunset advisory committee among others.

Since those lawmakers walked out on what Abbott called “unfinished business,” he used his line-item veto power to bring down punishment.

“Texans don’t run from a legislative fight, and they don’t walk away from unfinished business,” he said in a statement regarding the veto. “Funding should not be provided for those who quit their jobs early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner of Grand Prairie told our news partners at the Texas Tribune the move by Abbott is an “abuse of power” and said the caucus “is exploring every option, including immediate legal options, to fight back.”

“Texas has a governor, not a dictator,” Turner said in a statement. “The tyrannical veto of the legislative branch is the latest indication that [Abbott] is simply out of control.”

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