With Hurricane Harvey having ravaged much of the Texas Gulf Coast, having caused tens of billions of dollars in damage and having affected the lives of millions to one degree or another, the question has arisen as to whether the Texas Legislature should be called into a second special session to deal with the aftermath. According to the Texas Tribune, Governor Greg Abbott, who would call for such a special session, has vetoed the idea. The legislature will not be back in regular session until early 2019.
Abbott could, conceivably, have called the Legislature back into session in order to tap the rainy day fund for Harvey disaster relief. The fund is now filled with $10.3 billion, and part of it would go a long ways toward providing some help for people who have been affected by the storm and the floods that accompany it. However, accessing the fund would be politically tricky.
Attorney Jake Posey, managing shareholder of The Posey Law Firm explains part of the problem is that neither the state nor the federal government, which will shortly debate an initial “down payment” for Harvey funding, has a handle currently on how much money will be necessary to recover from the hurricane. Harvey made landfall as a category 4 storm and then dumped trillions of gallons of water on the Houston area, destroying homes and businesses. Recovery from the disaster will be the work of some months if not years.
In the meantime, Gov. Abbott’s judgment is that, pending the introduction of federal dollars, the state of Texas has enough resources to deal with the after-effects of Harvey, one of the costliest storms in American history.
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