Gov. Abbott talks legislative goals, economic development with Williamson County chambers

abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott shared updates on COVID-19 vaccinations, discussed economic development in Texas and presented his legislative goals at a Dec. 18 virtual legislative session preview. (Screenshot courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)

Gov. Greg Abbott shared updates on COVID-19 vaccinations, discussed economic development in Texas and presented his legislative goals at a Dec. 18 virtual legislative session preview. (Screenshot courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)

Gov. Greg Abbott said vaccine rollouts will be a catalyst to “successful and prosperous” economic development in 2021 for Texas and in Williamson County.

Abbott shared updates on COVID-19 vaccinations, discussed economic development in Texas and presented his legislative goals at a Dec. 18 virtual legislative session preview with the Cedar Park, Georgetown and Round Rock chambers of commerce as well as with the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership.

“You all are extremely aggressive and effective in economic development in the greater Williamson County area,” he said to the about 80 attendees.

This year, there were several announcements of large companies such as Oracle, Tesla and Hewlett Packard moving to Texas. Abbott said CEOs are keen on better tax policies and a regulatory environment in Texas. Companies have also relocated to the state for increased safety for families and businesses, he said.

"Businesses don't have the tools or ability to make communities safe, that is the government's responsibility," he said. "During this past year, it has become quite obvious—and quite dangerous—how unsafe some cities are."


Abbott said his legislative priorities in the next session include giving liability protection to businesses who follow protocols, developing skilled employees, providing health care coverage to people with preexisting conditions, increasing and improving telemedicine, pushing back on measures to defund police departments, and facing the increasing homeless population.

Round Rock Chamber of Commerce President Jason Ball asked Abbott about pro-business legislation and how the governor’s office will legislatively promote economic development in Texas. Ball said tools such as Chapter 380 agreements and Chapter 313 and the Texas Enterprise Fund are important in local communities to grow the “Texas miracle.”

Abbott said he supports and uses these tools, but his team needs the support of economic development leaders, including those in Williamson County, to move these tools past the goal line in the session.

“We need your voices to be very loud during the course of the session on these issues,” Abbott said. “I think if you often come to the table and advocate in support of these, they will be renewed.”

In discussing the 2021-22 fiscal year budget, which starts Sept. 1, Abbott said the shortfall will not be as large as expected. Industries involving international travel are the only sector that he believes will remain affected in late 2021 since countries are on different distribution timelines for vaccinations. Abbott said he expected anyone who wishes to receive a vaccine to have received one before the next budget begins Sept. 1.

Abbott said even though there are areas in Texas currently spiking with cases and hospitalizations, he expects numbers to level off, decline and increasing decline in the coming weeks. He said more than one million doses of vaccines will be administered in Texas by the end of the year, which he said is equivalent to the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state. He said over 250,000 vaccines have been distributed this week.

“We now have a medical answer to the challenge COVID-19 posed,” he said.
By Taylor Girtman
After interning with Community Impact Newspaper in 2019, Taylor Girtman became a reporter for the Cedar Park and Leander edition in February 2020.


MOST RECENT

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County reported more than 250 new COVID-19 cases April 9-11

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County.

The studio celebrated its grand opening April 11. (Courtesy Müv Dance & Fitness)
Müv Dance & Fitness now open in Leander

The studio celebrated its grand opening April 11.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Jack Allen's Kitchen will be at 1345 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. (Rendering courtesy Jack Allen's Kitchen)
ROUNDUP: 7 eateries coming soon to the Cedar Park-Leander area

These seven restaurants plan to open this year in the Cedar Park-Leander area.

Williamson County added more than 200 new COVID-19 cases April 5-7. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds more than 200 new COVID-19 cases April 5-7

Here is what you need to know today about COVID-19 in Williamson County.

Amenities include coworking spaces, a pool courtyard, a resident coffee bar and a fitness center. (Courtesy StreetLights Residential)
377-unit multifamily development under construction in Northwest Austin

The Lakeline-area project is expected to be complete in October.

Harmful blue-green algae found in Highland Lakes

Blue-green algae has been found in three Highland Lakes and 10 locations around Lake Travis.