By Aman Batheja

Declaring “a new era of job growth in the state of Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed a $2.56 billion bill cutting the franchise tax rate paid by businesses by 25 percent.

Abbott signed House Bill 32, from state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, at the Austin office of AMD, a California-based chipmaker, which he described as one of the largest payers of the state’s franchise tax in the Austin area.

“I want AMD to know that because AMD is doing business in the state of Texas, you just got a tax cut,” Abbott said. Joining Abbott at the signing was one of the bill's Senate co-sponsors, Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, as well as several House Republicans who supported the bill.

Abbott also signed three other bills Monday related to a $3.8 billion tax relief deal reached near the end of this year’s legislative session, including Senate Bill 1, which will cover the loss of tax revenue by school districts if Texas voters approve raising the homestead exemption by $10,000 in November. Abbott also signed House Bill 7, which eliminates certain occupational fees collected on a wide range of professions including chiropractors, dentists, interior designers and real estate brokers.

“Now with this package provided by the Texas Legislature, it’s going to be so easy to sell Texas,” said Abbott, who is gearing up to travel the country in the near future to woo businesses in other states.

One state on Abbott’s itinerary, he confirmed, will be Connecticut, home of General Electric, which has recently threatened to leave that state over plans by lawmakers there to raise taxes.

“I look forward to visiting with them in person too to explain to them how much more affordable Texas is than Connecticut and how much better of a state Texas is to do business in than Connecticut,” Abbott said. He sent a letter to the company last week touting the state's recent tax relief efforts.

Following the bill signing, AMD officials showed Abbott a prototype of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality system. With the device strapped on his head, Abbott smiled and waved his arms in the air as he rode on a virtual roller coaster.

“You guys are going to put Disney World out of business,” Abbott joked.