Gov. Greg Abbott urged to detail COVID aid spending plans as Texas faces pressing budget needs – By Robert T. Garrett (Dallas Morning News) / Sept 21 2020
Democrats demand that Abbott show his cards — and not hoard federal money, to make state budget writing easier. A spokesman says he’s being ‘fiscally responsible.’
AUSTIN — Democrats are pressing Gov. Greg Abbott to spell out what Texas will do with billions in federal coronavirus aid, citing budget cuts by state agencies and pressing financial needs of public schools, local government and social services programs.
Some are also accusing Abbott and other state GOP leaders of hoarding federal COVID-19 money, to make state budget writing easier.
An Abbott spokesman, though, insists he’s being “fiscally responsible” and keeping key lawmakers informed.
On Monday, Austin Democratic Rep. Donna Howard, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, urged Abbott to share his plans for spending about $5.7 billion of the more than $12.8 billion that Texas stood to gain from the CARES Act that Congress passed in March.
Of the larger sum, $11.2 billion is federal money flowing through a newly created Coronavirus Relief Fund for state and local governments. Federal officials will recoup any dollars that aren’t spent by Dec. 30, Howard warned, noting it’s still unclear how Abbott would spend $5.6 billion of that money.