Texas Governor Greg Abbott is hinting that he's likely to tap the state's rainy day fund to help cover the costs of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Most people understand that Texas will be tapping into the rainy day fund. We need to first understand obligations we're going to have, how much they will amount to and the best strategies to pay for that," he tells News Radio 1200 WOAI.
Texas has the largest emergency fund of any state in the U.S. It currently sits at about $10 million. But Harvey will be one of the costliest storms in the country's history. Early estimates are that it will top $150 billion.
Harvey hit the Texas coastline on August 5th, near Rockport, as a Category 4 storm. It then turned north to slam Houston with more than 50 inches of rain. Upwards of 200,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed.
Last week, congress approved a $15.25 billion aid package for areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.
San Antonio Congressman Henry Cuellar sits on the Appropriations Committee.
“Leadership isn’t about what you say, it’s about what you do and I am satisfied with the work that my colleagues and I are doing to ensure Texas’ recovery from this catastrophic event," he said in a statement. "It is truly an all-around team effort and together, once again, we are proving that Texans can count on each other in times of need.”
Texas would not need a Special Session of the Legislasture to approve the use of the rainy day fund. Funds could be spent now and, when the legislature meets in 2019, those debts could be paid.
Speaking this week in San Antonio before the Hand in Hand benefit concert, Gov. Abbott would not say when the cash could start flowing. Instead, he says its part of the steps that are followed after a disaster.
"The first is saving lives. The second is efforts like this to provide additional support, to help people rebuild. The third is the rebuilding process."