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AUSTIN (CBS 11 NEWS) – Governor-elect Greg Abbott raised a lot of eyebrows when he criticized locally-approved ordinances such as Denton’s ban on fracking and Dallas’ ban on plastic bags — calling it the “Californication” of Texas.

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After years of railing against an over-reaching federal government, Mr. Abbott says he doesn’t believe he’s being hypocritical.

During a one-on-one interview at his old campaign headquarters in Austin, he told me, “Texans can run their lives better than government. It doesn’t matter if it’s the federal government or the local government. Government needs to get off the backs of people.”

At the state capitol Wednesday, various groups rallied to preserve a 2001 law that allows illegal immigrants to receive in-state college tuition if they’re making progress on becoming legal.
Abbott says that’s a loophole that has to be closed.

But he stopped short of saying he backs Republican bills to overturn that law.

When asked specifically if he would support giving in-state tuition once the loophole is closed, Abbott said, “Well, I’m going to be open to various forms of legislation that people will be bringing up and we’ll have to see what comes up during the session.”

During the rally, Democratic State Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas told a crowd of about 75 people that he filed a bill to uphold the 2001 law. “This is good policy that affirms young people who are playing by the rules, working hard, going to college and pursuing the American dream which is what our policy should be in this state.”

But Republican State Representative Jonathan Stickland of Bedford has filed a bill seeking to overturn the law. “It’s easy to say we’re heartless or we don’t care about these kids. It’s not about that for me. I will tell you that ending in-state college tuition in the long run will have a better affect for these kids than currently giving it out.”

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Republicans remain firmly in control of the legislature, and Stickland believes that his or a similar bill will pass both houses of the legislature and be signed by Abbott.

The Governor-elect will be sworn in as Governor Tuesday, January 20 at the Capitol.

Abbott said Wednesday he’s pleased that State Comptroller Glenn Hegar has forecast the state will have an extra $18 billion available for the next two year budget compared with the current budget.
He favors cutting taxes for property and business owners, but says it’s too early to say by how much.

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

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