How will Texas help Harvey-ravaged communities?
In September 2017, weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Harvey ravaged his city, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sparked what became a high-profile spat with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
Facing mounting clean-up costs, Turner — a Democrat and former longtime state lawmaker — implored Abbott to call legislators back to Austin to approve a withdrawal from the state’s savings account to pay for storm recovery. But Abbott held off, saying that Turner had all the money he needed until theLegislature convened for its regular session in 2019.
Since then, Abbott — who ended up sending some money to Houston for debris removal — and the state’s two other top leaders, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, have all said they support tapping the state’s historically flush rainy day fund to help with Harvey recovery and have repeatedly named storm recovery a top priority.
More than a month into the legislative session, though, the big three have yet to offer specifics about what that might look like — all declined through spokespeople to share specific funding-related Harvey priorities. But recently filed legislation and public discussions among top lawmakers offer some insight into what the state may ultimately pony up to help communities recover from the costliest natural disaster in Texas history.
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