NTXIF 2024

Hurricane recovery efforts continue with much still to do

by | Jan 26, 2018 | Opinion

By Ed Sterling

Member services director for the Texas Press Association.

 

Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 17 extended for 30 days the state disaster declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey, which pounded and flooded the Gulf Coast and moved deeply inland, spreading its destructive power.

“As long as Texas families are fighting to recover, they can rest assured that the State of Texas is fighting with them,” Abbott said. The 60 counties listed in the declaration will continue to be eligible for assistance as they recover and rebuild, the governor said.

Abbott, who remains in regular contact with congressional leaders and the Trump administration, said he has continued to request funds to rebuild Texas. On Jan. 19, Abbott said he shared Hurricane Harvey survivors’ aggravation over that fact that much-needed continuing federal disaster aid for Texas is bogged down in Washington politics.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, who also serves as Texas’ hurricane recovery czar, on Jan. 20 spoke to a group of newspaper publishers at a statewide press convention in Galveston. While delivering an overview of recovery efforts, Sharp expressed his frustration with federal sluggishness in sending disaster aid to Texas.

On the bright side, Sharp credited state agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas A&M Forest Service for their employees’ work in debris hauling and other areas of need.  Sharp described this, or any other major disaster recovery effort, as a “bottom-up” operation, in which mayors and county judges must apply for aid for their jurisdictions and scrupulously attend to paperwork and accounting requirements for state and federal relief efforts to move forward.

Abbott, in his 15th weekly update on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, said the Texas Department of Emergency Management estimates that more than 11.4 million cubic yards of debris have been collected, which is about 64 percent of the anticipated total.

Also, as of Jan. 16 more than $12.6 billion in federal funds had been provided directly to Texans, including FEMA grants to households, National Flood Insurance Program claims payments and Small Business Administration disaster loans, Abbott added.

Employment trend continues

Annual employment growth for Texas was 2.5 percent in December, marking 92 consecutive months of annual growth.  The Lone Star State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in December, below the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, the Texas Workforce Commission reported on Jan. 19.

Texas ended 2017 with record-level job creation numbers during the fourth quarter, with 10 of 11 industries expanding over the year and an annual gain of 306,900 jobs, said Texas Workforce Commission Chair Andres Alcantar.

Industry sectors adding jobs in December included Leisure and Hospitality, 6,800 jobs; Construction, 4,300 jobs; and Information, which includes traditional and software publishing, data processing and hosting and telecommunications, 3,600 jobs.

The Amarillo and Midland Metropolitan Statistical Areas recorded the lowest December unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.5 percent, followed by the Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock MSAs, which tied for the second-lowest with a rate of 2.7 percent. The San Angelo, San Antonio-New Braunfels and Sherman-Denison MSAs tied for the third-lowest rate of 3.0 percent.

Hegar distributes revenue

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced earlier this month that he would send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts some $709.2 million in local sales tax allocations for the month of January.

The amount is 9.5 percent more than the comptroller’s office distributed in January 2017. These allocations are based on sales made in November by businesses that report tax monthly.

AG offers training video

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Jan. 18 announced the debut of his office’s new training video “to educate and mobilize all Texans in the fight against human trafficking.”

The nearly hour-long video was developed over the last year by Paxton’s Human Trafficking/Transnational Organized Crime section and was shown during a public screening at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.

Texas is responsible for the nation’s second-highest number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and recent research indicates that at any given time there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state, Paxton said.

The video is available to the public at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/human-trafficking.

For more stories like this subscribe to the print or e-edition.

 

Photos online

0 Comments

Public Notice - Subscribe

Related News

Pet ownership: A lifetime commitment

Pet ownership: A lifetime commitment

He was crossing the road. Over and over. I was surprised someone hadn’t hit him with their car. I was also surprised the coyotes hadn’t gotten him. It was 9 o’clock at night and according to the residents of the small strip of country road, he’d been out there for a...

read more
Hold, please

Hold, please

It appears that telephone landlines may be on their way out. CNN Business reported that recently, AT&T applied for a waiver in the state of California to stop servicing traditional landlines. Both AT&T and Verizon have both said they want to move away from...

read more
Dewey or don’t we?

Dewey or don’t we?

On Christmas Eve 2008, there were just three of us working in the office. Well, technically, there was one of us working, the other two were there. A couple of the young ladies on staff either didn’t have enough vacation time built up or they were saving it for...

read more
A range of options

A range of options

My great grandparents lived on a homestead. They cooked on a wood stove. Most of us today have no idea how good we’ve got it. For my great grandparents’ generation, remodeling the kitchen meant picking a different place to stack the wood. By John Moore For more on...

read more
A word from out sponsors

A word from out sponsors

Commercials used to be great. They used to be an art form. They used to be fun. Today’s advertising is boring in comparison. Television commercials were something to which I looked forward when I was a kid. Some were better developed and more interesting than the...

read more
On the road again

On the road again

We often hear someone say they just want to leave the world a better place than they found it. That’s a great goal, but rarely is it the case. Unless you were Charles Kuralt. For those of us who grew up during his time on the CBS News segment, On The...

read more
The Walking Dad

The Walking Dad

It's obvious that I have to wait to die until after everyone else in my home goes. Otherwise, every light in the house will be left on for all of eternity. My dad used to say that I could leave on all of the lights whenever I started paying the bills. By John Moore...

read more
Small town living: some leave, some come back

Small town living: some leave, some come back

You learn things when you grow up in a small town. Things you don’t learn if you grow up anywhere else. Things that are special. I was born in a small town. But I didn’t stay. I left for the same reasons other folks leave their hometown. Education, better jobs, and...

read more
There’s ‘snow’ ice cream quite like it!

There’s ‘snow’ ice cream quite like it!

It didn’t snow much in Ashdown, Arkansas in the 1960s. It doesn’t snow there much now. But when it did, and when it does, kids there know exactly what to do. Beg their moms to make snow ice cream. By John Moore For more on this story see the December 21, 2023 print,...

read more
Public Notice - Subscribe