Texas gover­nor gives Hous­ton $50M for cleanup

Tampa Bay Times - - Nation & World -

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott on Fri­day gave $50 mil­lion in state funds to the city of Hous­ton for Hur­ri­cane Har­vey cleanup fol­low­ing crit­i­cism over his as­ser­tions that the Demo­cratic mayor al­ready had “all the money he needs.”

Ab­bott, a Repub­li­can whose po­lit­i­cal ca­reer be­gan in Hous­ton, handed a check to Mayor Sylvester Turner with hopes of eas­ing ten­sions be­tween them over the storm that left Hous­ton un­der­wa­ter more than a month ago and could re­sult in the costli­est dis­as­ter cleanup in U.S. his­tory.

The money amounted to some­thing of a re­ver­sal for Ab­bott, who just days ear­lier ac­cused Turner of sit­ting on hun­dreds of mil­lions of lo­cal dol­lars and hold­ing the state “hostage” by push­ing a tax hike to pay for Har­vey’s mount­ing ex­penses.

Hous­ton of­fi­cials said Ab­bott mis­un­der­stood city fi­nances, and on Thurs­day, the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle blis­tered Ab­bott in an ed­i­to­rial for re­fus­ing to start spend­ing from Texas’ $10 bil­lion emer­gency sav­ings fund. Wrote the ed­i­to­rial board: “Here’s what he’s es­sen­tially say­ing to Hous­ton: DROP DEAD.”

Sit­ting be­side Turner at a news con­fer­ence in Hous­ton on Fri­day, Ab­bott said they were on the same team.

“Mayor, I don’t come emp­ty­handed to­day,” said Ab­bott, who said he is not tap­ping the state’s rainy day fund but is in­stead us­ing other sources in the state bud­get to pro­vide the money.

Turner said with the money he will stop push­ing for a one-time Hous­ton prop­erty tax in­crease of 3.6 per­cent.

“We are most ef­fec­tive and most im­pact­ful when we are work­ing to­gether,” Turner said. “Quite nat­u­rally the only thing peo­ple want from us is to work to­gether.”

Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency dol­lars will pay for most of Har­vey’s cleanup. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ear­lier this month signed a $15.3 bil­lion Har­vey re­lief pack­age and con­gres­sional lead­ers have said they will pur­sue more re­cov­ery spend­ing.

Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott had said Hous­ton’s mayor al­ready had “all the money he needs.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.