CBS Austin: Austin mayor ‘dumbfounded’ after governor calls out city

By Adam Hammons

Austin mayor Steve Adler said he was dumbfounded when governor Greg Abbott called out his city in an announcement of a special session.

Abbott called the special session in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. The governor called for 20 total items. Many of them would affect Austin.

Abbott specifically called out the capital city.

“Some local governments like the city of Austin are doing everything they can to overregulate,” Abbott said.

He mentioned three items he’d like to see in the special session that address what he called over regulation.

Those are “preventing cities from regulation what property owners do with trees on private land”, “preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects” and “speed up local government permitting process,” according to Abbott’s press release.

“I was dumbfounded really,” Austin mayor Steve Adler said.

Adler said he expected a special session that “looks forward and builds what is happening tomorrow.”

“Instead it looks like we’re having a special session about a bathroom bill, really?” Adler said.

Adler had the same response to the targeting of a tree ordinance.

Austin council member Leslie Pool released this statement on Abbott’s call,“It is extremely short-sighted of the Governor to target local tree ordinances as one of the agenda items for a Special Called Session. The Texas Legislature has taken us down this road before. Each time, municipalities have retained their right – their responsibility – to protect our natural assets that provide so much value to our rural and urban areas.”

Abbott also said the over regulation has affected the economy.

“In the process, they are stifling our economy, interfering with job creation and undermining private property rights,” Abbott said.

“The suggestion that we’re doing something here which has led us to an economy which is stagnating is not true,” Adler said in response.

Austin council member Jimmy Flannigan also said Austin’s economy is thriving.

“I mean ultimately the governor’s statement is a joke, the idea that one of the most successful cities in the nation is going to be treated as if we are a failure is a laughing stock,” Flannigan said.