Skip to Main Content

Texas Governor Writes Houston $50 Million Check for Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts After Refusing to Tap $10 Billion “Rainy Day Fund”


Governor Abbott reluctantly agreed to provide Houston with $50 million from Texas’s $10 Billion “Rainy Day” fund to help pay for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, after previously stating that the city would have to wait until the Legislature convened again in 2019.

Hurricane Harvey Flood Damage Costs to Exceed $100 Million Houston Flood Insurance Budget

Hurricane Harvey battered Houston with torrential rains for five days after coming ashore on August 25th, causing catastrophic flooding in many areas of the city.

The flooding only worsened on August 28th, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a series of controlled releases at the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, inundating thousands of previously unflooded homes downstream along Buffalo Bayou.

Late last month, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote to Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, pleading that the state release money from Texas’s $10 Billion Rainy Day Fund (the largest of any state in the country) to assist the city with recovery efforts.

According to The Texas Tribune, the letter pointed out recover costs are expected to exceed Houston’s $100 million flood insurance budget.

Turner also noted that the city was currently without flood insurance and that the Rainy Day Funds would allow Houston to pay the cost of extending the city’s flood insurance policy until April 1, 2018 without the need to increase property taxes.

“During Hurricane Harvey, 27 trillion gallons of rain fell in Texas,” Turner wrote. “There hardly seems a more appropriate use of the nearly $10 billion of taxpayer dollars in the fund than on recovery from this storm.”

Turner also indicated that, if the request for additional funds were denied, he’d have no choice but to increase property taxes.

Governor Abbot Initially Refused to Tap the $10 Billion “Rainy Day” Fund Before the 2019 Legislative Session

Abbott shocked many in Houston when he refused Turner’s request.

“In times like these, it’s important to have fiscal responsibility as opposed to financial panic,” Abbott said. 

The Governor maintained that Houston has adequate resources available to pay for Hurricane Harvey until the next state legislative session, which won’t begin until January 2019.

Abbott also accused the Mayor of “using [Harvey recovery] as hostage to raise taxes.”

After Receiving Massive Backlash, Governor Abbott Ultimately Agreed to Provide $50 Million to Assist Houston’s Recovery Efforts

Tensions appeared to have lessened last Friday, after Abbot presented the city of Houston with a $50 million check to cover immediate relief and reconstruction needs.

Instead of tapping the Rainy Day Fund, the money was drawn from a $100 million disaster relief fund that was appropriated to Abbott’s office during the last legislative session.

During a joint news conference held on September 29th, Turner said the additional funds would allow him to cancel a City Council vote on the temporary property tax increase.

As for the “Rainy Day” fund, Abbott promised that it would be used to cover long-term needs and preventative measures related to Harvey – but not until exact costs have been determined.

“The time to use the thrust of the Rainy Day Fund is when the expenses are known,” the Governor said. “So the members of the Legislature know how best to use the Rainy Day Fund.”

Abbott also said there was a “possibility for a special session” to allocate Rainy Day Funds once the state has a better handle on costs.

Was Your Home or Business Flooded as a Result of the Corps of Engineers Reservoir Releases? Our Undefeated Flood Damage Lawyers Can Help. Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here.

Having won more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients, our Undefeated Hurricane & Flood Damage Lawyers will devote whatever resources are necessary to help ensure that fellow Houstonians are able to fully recover and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

All consultations are free. And because we only represent clients for a contingency fee, you’ll owe nothing unless we win your case.

Call 1-888-603-3636 or  Click Here to send a confidential email through our “Contact Us” form.