Vice President Mike Pence touted tax reform as the headliner of the Republican Governors Association conference, where some of the top Republicans in the country gathered this week.
The annual conference took over the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Austin, as GOP office-holders and business leaders flooded the property.
This comes in the same week that Gov. Greg Abbott flew to Washington, D.C. to attend fundraising events with the vice president. Pence borrowed the “Make America Great Again” catchphrase from President Donald Trump, telling the crowd, “We’re going to make America prosperous again. We’re going to have the ability to make America safe again.”
“It’s amazing to think that the most powerful economy in the industrialized world has one of the highest business taxes on the planet,” Pence said. “The businessman turned president, is absolutely committed to making it possible for businesses to compete again, to compete with companies all over the world.”
Pence focused much of his speech on taxes, saying that the Trump administration planned to cut taxes for middle class Americans and business owners by the end of the year. He also said Republicans are at the forefront of expanding access to health care and giving more students a choice at where they want to go to school.
“With your help, with the strong example and the support of these great Republican governors, with President Donald Trump in the White House and with great Republican leadership in the Congress, I believe we can deliver for the American people,” Pence said.
Meanwhile, Texas Democrats said Pence’s presence in the Lone Star State was bad for business.
“Every day Texans have been saying that they don’t want Washington, D.C. style politics in Austin, Texas. And what we have seen under Greg Abbott and Donald Trump is they are bringing Trump style politics and the Trump playbook right into the Texas Capitol,” Texas Democratic Party deputy executive director Manny Garcia said.
Pence said both large corporations and small businesses ought to reap the benefits of tax breaks.
“We need the support of everyone here,” he said as he challenged the audience to partner with communities across the country to promote tax relief.
Thirty-four states are run by Republican governors, which Pence said was a record high.
Some of the attendees included Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Energy Secretary — and former Texas governor — Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. Business leaders from across the country also attended.