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Texas gets $15.8B bonanza in pandemic aid, far more than it lost in revenue

Texas gets $15.8B bonanza in pandemic aid, far more than it lost in revenue

May 10, 2021
Click here to view original web page at www.dallasnews.com

President Joe Biden speaks about the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) WASHINGTON – The state, cities and counties of Texas will soon receive a $25 billion bonanza under the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law signed by […]

Click here to view original web page at www.dallasnews.com


President Joe Biden speaks about the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON – The state, cities and counties of Texas will soon receive a $25 billion bonanza under the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law signed by President Joe Biden in March.

The Treasury Department issued details Monday of the $350 billion set aside for state and local governments under the massive package, approved by Congress with only Democratic support.

Dallas County will receive $512 million. The city will get another $355 million.

Only Harris County and Houston are higher on the list in Texas, with budgetary infusions of $916 million and $608 million heading their way soon.

Republicans in Congress vehemently opposed the state aid, deriding it as a bailout for states that mismanaged their budgets.

But only blue California, which actually ran a surplus during the crisis, stands to receive more than Texas, where the infusion will have an outsized impact on a budget controlled by Republicans: Gov. Greg Abbott and the GOP hold majorities in the Legislature.

Texas stands to receive a $15.8 billion windfall – far more than the roughly $4 billion the state lost as COVID-19 sent economic shudders across the globe, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

Texas counties will share about $5.7 billion, and cities will get $3.4 billion.

“It’s going to help working parents get back to work,” Biden said at the White House. “This one-time investment is a real answer to a real problem our economy is facing right now.”

States have wide flexibility on how they use the funds from the American Rescue Plan.

But Congress set some limits, and White House and Treasury officials emphasized Monday that the funds can’t be used to replace revenue lost through tax cuts – a provision that triggered lawsuits from GOP state officials around the country.

Other no-nos for the aid: shoring up pension funds, making debt payments, paying for lawsuits, or replenishing rainy day funds.

The intent, rather, is to encourage hiring and spur economic recovery. They could include investments in public health, or infrastructure, or to boost pay for essential workers.

“With this funding, communities hit hard by COVID-19 will be able to return to a semblance of normalcy,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “They’ll be able to rehire teachers, firefighters and other essential workers — and to help small businesses reopen safely.”

Of the $350 billion, $195 billion will go to state governments and the District of Columbia. Counties will get $65 billion. Another $46 billion will go to cities, with the rest going to tribal governments and U.S. territories.

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