Texas Supreme Court Blocks Guaranteed Income Program Payments

 April 24, 2024

While Texas is considered a red state, there are more than a few pockets of blue that saturate the state.

One of those pockets, Harris County, had initiated a guaranteed income program, which has just been blocked by the Texas Supreme Court.

Talking Points…
- Harris County implements guaranteed income program
- Texas AG Ken Paxton sues to block program
- Analysis

Harris County Guaranteed Income Program

Harris County, TX, is one of the more liberal pockets in Texas. Houston is the primary city in the county, the largest city in Texas with a population nearing 2.3 million, and the fourth largest city in the entire country, surpassed by only New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Harris County is a blue stronghold, so it was no surprise seeing Uplift Harris launch. This pilot program received more than 80,000 applications for about 2,000 residents to receive a guaranteed income of $500 per month for 18 months. The money to back the program was part of Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The county earmarked more than $20 million from the legislation to bankroll the new program.

After the program was set to launch, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the county to block the program.

Ken Paxton Sues Harris County

After Paxton filed his initial suit, his challenge was blocked by Houston County Judge Ursula Hall. This was not exactly a surprise when considering that Hall is a Democrat in a blue county. Paxton has challenged the program, saying that it was unconstitutional, but Hall disagreed, ruling:

"If the program does include a public benefit, it does not violate the constitution."

After the decision was issued, Paxton immediately elevated the case to the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Paxton, at least for now. The court stated:

"Without regard to the merits, the court grants an administrative stay as follows: Real parties in interest and their agents are prohibited from making payments under the Uplift Harris program pending further order of this Court."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the ruling, vowing to continue to fight against the "egregious misuse of taxpayer money." The left, however, was not quite so happy. UpTogether CEO Jesús Gerena ripped the court and Paxton for using this program as a "political football," stating:

"Today’s shameful decision means thousands of Texas residents facing financial hardship will be denied an opportunity for financial stability and upward mobility for the unforeseeable future.

"By blocking Uplift Harris, the state Supreme Court has tossed aside any notion of judicial restraint and joined Ken Paxton’s ongoing circus show, in which he continues to use people’s day-to-day survival as a political football."


To be clear, the program is not permanently blocked, only paused while the Texas Supreme Court awaits Harris County's response to Paxton's filing, which must be received by April 29. Regardless, expect the left to get everyone fired up about this, painting Paxton as the bad guy for blocking more public assistance for lower-income families. In fact, the attacks have already started, with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo blasting Paxton for waiting until after the families that would receive the benefits had been selected and notified to file his challenge. In reality, Paxton was fending off an impeachment effort, having been suspended from his post while those proceedings took place, which he obviously beat.

We are definitely going to keep an eye on this because if the county wins this case, it could open the door for Democrats to spend even more on freebies to try to steal votes away from Republicans in the upcoming election.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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