Opinion | Coronavirus fiscal budgeting crisis

With so many signs pointing towards economic difficulties coming our way, not only for small and large companies, but also for our government. Typically, Texas spends $150 billion a year on services, such as education, property tax relief , unemployment benefits, and construction of affordable housing.

How many people are unemployed in Texas directly related to COVID? No data has come in this far on how many people have claimed unemployment benefits stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there were issues already that city officials were confronting prior to the outbreak and that have been exacerbated due to the virus. Issues like the homeless, medical fragile communities, incarcerated of those in prison and juvenile detention centers. 

Not only has coronavirus affected adults, but also children. Child care environments have been disrupted. Students from K-12 who don’t have access to online learning because some may not have online tools, such as Chrome books, internet, or even computers for multiple children within a household. With some many downfalls for government to sustain the public education system there are still many unknown problems to face coming up in the 2020-2021 Fall semester. Essential workers who have children also face childcare slot capacity problems. 

As for public assisted programs such as the (EBT) Food Stamp program, the current policy is Texans have to be enrolled in school or have a job with a minimum of 30 work hours. The rules and regulations that surround unemployment benefits for those who have been laid off or on furlough are allowed to refuse to go back to work and collect unemployment for now ordered by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott includes:

-High Risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

-Household member at high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

-Diagnosed with Coronavirus: The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.

-Family member with COVID: Anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.

-Quarantined: Individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.

-Child care: Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.

As of right now many Texans seem to be trying to get back to normal, but with a huge hole in revenues, how fast will it be for Texans to rebound from the recession-like situation of post-coronavirus outbreak? Will government cut state and city services? Will government add public services and programs that can lead to an unbalanced fiscal budget with little money in reserves? What avenues will our local and state elected officials do to make more money without raising taxes and slashing teachers wages? These are all good questions for the budget committees in Texas and Corpus Christi.