Tuesday, 02 June 2020 09:27

As TX Businesses Reopen, Short-Lived Coronavirus Safety Net is Dismantled

Written by Emma Platoff, The Texas Tribune


She and her husband, a self-employed diesel mechanic who has struggled to find work over the last few months, scraped together $140 in cash, and he drove 15 miles to pay the bill in person.


“Thank God for the stimulus check,” she said.


Federal dollars have been the driver of many of the supports Texas has offered residents during the past few months. But in some cases, the state has left money on the table. That’s the case with Medicaid expansion, which even with a generous federal match has remained politically impossible in Texas.


Another federally funded support program was child care, a system advocates say was already disastrous before the pandemic hit. On June 1, the state will stop covering child-care costs that low-income parents pay under typical circumstances, and child-care subsidies for essential workers will be phased out over the next three months.


The TWC announced both moves the day after Abbott reopened child care facilities for all parents.


Removing these supports offered “early indicators that we will follow the path of least resistance,” Watson said. But the state, he argued, has an unprecedented opportunity to reevaluate what works and doesn’t in its economy.


“We cannot squander this opportunity,” he said. “Shame on us---shame on us---if we set aside the revelation of our best sides and our best values to fix flaws in a system that proved not to be as resilient as we thought it might be---and then we just went back.”


We thank The Texas Tribune for reprint permission.

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