Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott is worried about the Lone Star state because he says it’s becoming too much like — brace yourself — California.
In a Thursday speech to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Republican Mr. Abbott said too many Texas localities are quietly passing the kind of sweeping environmental laws associated with the deep-blue Golden State, such as bans of plastic bags.
“Texas is being California-ized and you may not even be noticing it,” Mr. Abbott told the limited-government foundation, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
“This is being done at the city level with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans. We’re forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model,” the Republican governor-elect said.
Mr. Abbott, who is slated to be sworn in Tuesday, said such local ordinances threaten private property rights.
“Now think about it — few things are more important in Texas than private property rights. Yet some cities are telling citizens that you don’t own some of the things on your own property that you have bought and purchased and owned for a long time. Things like trees,” Mr. Abbott said. “This is a form of collectivism.”
“Some cities claim that the trees on private property belong to the community, not to the private property owner. Large cities that represent about 75 percent of the population in this state are doing this to us,” Mr. Abbott said.
Voters in Denton, Texas, a college town about 40 miles to the north of Dallas, approved in November the state’s first ban on hydraulic fracturing, which has been challenged in court.
Mr. Abbott added, “Unchecked over-regulation by cities will turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare faster than you can spell TPPF,” referring to the foundation.
The Houston Chronicle promptly posted a poll Thursday asking readers, “Is Texas becoming too much like California?” As of late Thursday, 44 percent of respondents said yes, 50 percent said no, and 6 percent were undecided.