Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) is pointing the finger at his opponent, Gov. Greg Abbott (R), over inflation and rising property taxes in the state.
“He’s the single greatest driver of inflation in the state of Texas and it’s causing real pain to our fellow Texans right now,” O’Rourke told reporters on Wednesday, according to WFAA, an ABC affiliate in Texas.
“In the ninth largest economy on the planet and the wealthiest country in the world. It is not for lack of resources. It is for lack of political will,” O’Rourke added, according to the Palestine Herald-Press.
Abbott’s campaign responded to O’Rourke in a tweet, saying the governor “has reduced property taxes for Texans by over $18B since taking office, while Beto has an established track-record of increasing property taxes while serving on the city council in El Paso.”
The remarks come as inflation across the country has hit record highs, which has become a main GOP line of attack against President Biden and Democrats heading into the midterms.
In Harris County, the most populous county in Texas and home to Houston, the average home value has increased by more than 20 percent in 2022, the county’s Chief Appraiser Roland Altinger has said.
Across the state, home values have increased by 10 to 50 percent, according to the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts.
Texas does not have a state income tax, and property taxes are used to fund local schools, public hospitals and other entities.
But O’Rourke has proposed using other means to bring in revenue, like legalizing gambling or marijuana.
“Right now, we spend half a billion dollars locking people up for a substance that is legal in most of the rest of the country — most of the rest of the developed world,” the candidate said, according to WFAA.
“We also lose out on, conservatively speaking, half a billion dollars in tax revenue if we were to tax the regulated and controlled sale of marijuana,” he added.
Abbott and O’Rourke are set to face off in the gubernatorial election in November.
A Lyceum poll from earlier this month showed that Abbott was just 2 points ahead of O’Rourke in a face to face match-up, with a margin of error of just over 3 percentage points.