People all around the U.S. are busy trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet with rising costs slowly chipping away at their income.
While many are having to cut back on essential items and spend less on the more desirable things, they’re also hopeful of receiving an inflation relief check from their state. Is Texas next in line to help its residents?
Texas hasn’t announced plans to send inflation relief checks... yet.
Although California, Florida, Idaho, and a few other states have approved inflation relief checks for residents, Texas isn’t following suit just yet. While Texas Governor Greg Abbott was quick to recognize that “the U.S. economy is in a recession under Biden,” via Twitter, he hasn’t addressed the topic of inflation relief checks.
Instead, Abbott has praised Texas for being “No. 1 in the nation for job growth in June” and having “more Texans [with] jobs than ever before.” While it's certainly a good sign to see more people getting back to work in Texas, that doesn’t mean the state as a whole is able to cope with inflation among other factors that have impacted their ability to survive.
While Texas’ poverty rate for 2018–2020 was 12.9 percent or 3.7 million people, it’s likely there are still plenty of people trying to improve their circumstances.
Texas will have an extra $27 billion to spend in 2023 — how will the money be spent?
Although there hasn’t been any word on whether Texas will be sending out inflation relief checks, updates have been provided on how much the state will have at its disposal in 2023. The Texas Tribune reported in mid-July that Texas will have roughly $27 billion to spend next year due to “record-high tax revenues over the last year.”
In total, Texas will reportedly have $149.07 billion in general funds in 2023, says The Texas Tribune, and lawmakers will have $13.6 billion in what they like to call their “rainy day fund.”
When asked how the money should be spent, Comptroller Glenn Hegar believed it should go to “funding water infrastructure, road infrastructure, and broadband internet connectivity,” The Texas Tribune reported.
Hegar reportedly suggested that the money could “address rising property taxes and increase pay for state employees.”
Texas still has millions in COVID-19 relief funds available, though it may be set aside for county officials.
In addition to the billions of dollars Texas will have available for spending in 2023, some counties within the state also have available COVID-19 relief funds. The Texas Tribune recently shared that Tyler County alone received $4.2 million in direct funding under the American Rescue Plan Act.
According to Tyler County Judge Jacques L. Blanchette, $2.2 million was received in 2021 of which $450,000 went to county employees in the form of $3,500 payments. And the remaining amount? Well, based on the statements Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made in a nonbinding opinion, some of the money could go to “elected or appointed county officials.”
Paxton explained that Tyler County isn't obligated to provide taxpayers with advance notice of how the money should be spent and could decide to send county officials each “up to $25,000” of the remaining funding. However, because the first round of payments stirred up such controversy, Blanchette says he strongly believes the leftover money (received in 2022) won’t go to county officials.
Will there be another federal stimulus check in 2022?
With no inflation relief in sight coming from the state of Texas, many wonder whether there will be a fourth stimulus check from the government. While President Biden hasn’t announced any plans to push out another federal stimulus check, the government is being pressured by plenty of Americans who have signed petitions urging for another round of money.
In the meantime, while Texas lawmakers decide whether they want to issue an inflation relief check, Texans in need of financial assistance might qualify to receive SNAP food benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance.