So now a governor who disagrees with lawmakers can defund them?


No doubt tempers were running high. Republicans were furious that Democrats killed a controversial voting restrictions bill by walking out of the Capitol in the final hours of the legislative session.

But Gov. Greg Abbott’s threat Monday afternoon to veto the Texas Legislature’s funding – to defund a coequal branch of government, one that provides checks and balances on his own powers – marks a scandalous withholding of government funds to punish political foes, an authoritarian response trampling over the very idea of a government of the people.

The governor may disagree with the views and even the parliamentary tactics of some lawmakers. But he has no right to cut off the public dollars that allow them to represent and serve their constituents.

Abbott’s sweeping threat, issued on Twitter, appears to target more than the salaries of Democratic lawmakers, or even all lawmakers. Abbott pledged to “veto Article 10 of the budget,” a $200 million-a-year section that pays for legislative staffers as well as a litany of nonpartisan workers, including budget experts, employees who provide computer support and printing services, members of the State Auditor’s Office and staffers who review the performance of state agencies for the Sunset Advisory Commission. Abbott has until June 20 to veto any funding for the budget year starting Sept. 1.

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