Harvey Relief Aid is Coming...


State Legislators have given the green light to use the "Rainy Day Fund" for Hurricane Harvey relief aid. State Senator Carol Alvarado tells KTRH, "I also authored a bill that won't increase your property taxes for hurricane related repairs."

The Austin Statesman is reporting:

The Senate proposal, which ultimately will have to be squared with a House counterpart, calls for a supplemental appropriation of $8.4 billion for fiscal 2019 to pay for everything from Harvey-related expenses to a crime lab shortfall at the Department of Public Safety and bolstering the teacher retirement system.

The majority of the money — $4.4 billion — would come out of the rainy day fund.

The rainy day fund was set up in the late 1980s as a management tool to smooth out a volatile source of revenue: oil- and gas-related tax collections.

GOP lawmakers in recent years had been reluctant to touch the fund, but it now tops $12 billion — and Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar estimates the fund would have a balance of $15.4 billion by August 2021 if it isn’t touched before then.

The biggest withdrawal from the rainy day fund came in 2011, when lawmakers approved a $3.2 billion draw as Texas recovered from a national economic downturn.

Addressing the billions being spent from the rainy day fund in this proposal, Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who authored the bill and is chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee, said, “I realize those are big numbers, but $3 billion from this package are due to Harvey.”

Rainy day spending

Under a state supplemental budget proposal approved by the Senate, the Legislature would draw $4.4 billion in fiscal 2019 from the rainy day fund to pay for items at these state agencies:

• Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund: $1.7 billion

• Texas Education Agency, Hurricane Harvey-related costs: $905.5 million

• Teacher Retirement System, pension contributions: $542 million

• Health and Human Services Commission, state hospitals: $300 million

• Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan: $211 million

• Soil and Water Conservation Board, dam infrastructure: $150 million

• Health and Human Services Commission, Harvey costs: $110 million

• Office of the Governor, disaster grants: $100 million

• Texas Education Agency, school safety: $100 million

• Department of Public Safety, Harvey costs: $97 million

• Texas A&M Forest Service, wildfires: $54.9 million

• Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Harvey costs: $38.6 million

• General Land Office, Harvey costs: $23.6 million

• University of Houston, Harvey costs: $20.3 million

• University of Texas at Austin, Marine Science Institute, Harvey costs: $14.8 million

• Lone Star College, Harvey costs: $13.1 million

• Texas Workforce Commission, Harvey costs: $8.9 million

• Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Harvey costs: $8 million

• Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, radio replacement: $5 million

• University of Houston Downtown, Harvey costs: $4 million

• Texas A&M Forest Service, Harvey costs: $2.5 million

• University of Houston Victoria, Harvey costs: $1.7 million

• University of Houston Clear Lake, Harvey costs: $84,000

Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Port Aransas on Aug. 25, 2017, caused widespread flooding in Southeast Texas.

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