Gov. Greg Abbott said today in Fort Worth that he authorized a specialty license plate for Texas commemorating Juneteenth.
Abbott made the announcement as he addressed the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce 35th Annual Awards Luncheon held on June 19, the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, and the day many Texans celebrate the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state.
“It’s a day that celebrates when a country conquered the inhumanity of slavery,” Abbott told the crowd at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. “It’s a celebration of the long path to freedom, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, to today.”
The new specialty license plate, said Abbott, “shows where Texas stands – we stand for liberty – for everyone.” On June 18, the Supreme Court upheld Texas’ refusal to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag, rejecting a free-speech challenge.
The bill, HB 3610, Abbott signed says that TxDMV “shall design the license plates in consultation with Unity Unlimited, Inc.” The law takes effect in January 2016.
Abbott, who defeated Fort Worth’s Wendy Davis to become the 48th governor of Texas, recently oversaw his first legislative session as governor.
He said that the celebration of freedom and opportunity represented by Juneteenth needs to be more than just a “one-day event.”
“If we are to truly elevate Texas to its true potential, we must expand liberty and opportunity on an everyday basis,” he said.
That includes economic empowerment, he said. “One of the best things government can do is to let you keep more of your own money. If you run a business or own a home, you just got a tax cut in Texas that will let you keep more of your money.”
Abbott said that during the recent legislative session, Texas officials had “cut more than $4 billion in taxes and fees,” noting that they cut the “business franchise tax by 25 percent, increased the homestead exemption to $25,000 and eliminated occupational license fees for over 600,000 professionals.”
He also noted that he signed a bill to increase economic activity in low-income areas. “I signed a law authorizing Banking Development Districts,” he said. “This law was authored by Sen. Royce West and Rep. Eric Johnson. The law promotes establishing banks and credit unions in areas that are underserved by financial institutions. The goal is to promote more access to capital and thus empower more economic freedom for more Texans.”
Speaking before Abbott, Tracye McDaniel, president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corp., said the governor and several economic development officials from the area, will go to New York next month on an economic development mission.
Abbott noted that his first deal utilizing the Texas Enterprise Fund had an impact on North Texas. “The first deal I closed using that fund was just down the road in Grapevine, where Kubota Tractor moved its headquarters from California, bringing hundreds of new jobs to this area,” he said.