Uplift Harris Program: Texas Supreme Court’s Ruling Sparks Controversy

Photo of author
Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team

 

 

 

 

The Texas Supreme Court has put a stop to Harris County’s Uplift Harris program, which was designed to provide $500 monthly subsidies to more than 1,900 low-income households for 18 months.

This decision, delivered in a brief three-line order, prevents the county from continuing to distribute payments under the program. Funded by approximately $20 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the initiative aimed to support households living below 200% of the federal poverty line.

Attorney General Ken Paxton requested emergency intervention, arguing that the program violates a provision of the Texas Constitution prohibiting the transfer of public funds to private individuals as gifts.

Despite a state district court and an appeals court previously rejecting Paxton’s argument for a stay, the Texas Supreme Court sided with him, leading to disappointment and criticism from Harris County officials.

Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee expressed concern about the politicization of the courts and doubts about receiving a fair ruling.

While County Judge Lina Hidalgo stated that the first payments had been distributed, Menefee clarified that the payments were still being processed and had not been completed, with around 300 households awaiting completion of their paperwork.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis, a vocal supporter of the program, denounced the court’s decision as a “broadside attack” on struggling families. He pledged to continue advocating for the program’s beneficiaries and criticized the court’s intervention as harmful to those in need.

Despite this setback, Menefee remains hopeful about the county’s legal challenge and expects a ruling on the program’s constitutionality in the coming weeks. Should the ruling be unfavorable, the county will reassess how to best use the $20 million to assist its residents in need.

Leave a Comment