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AG Paxton Faces Backlash for Targeting Harris County’s Aid Program

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against Harris County over its new guaranteed income pilot program, calling it a “socialist experiment.”

Uplift Harris, the guaranteed income pilot program, would provide $500 a month to low-income residents, and although participants have already been selected and notified, Paxton is trying to stop the program once and for all.

In a press release, Paxton called the program “unlawful” and that it “redistributes public money in a manner that violates the Texas Constitution.” He said the program was a “socialist experiment by (Harris County Judge) Lina Hidalgo,” and that Harris County had exceeded its authority by promoting such a program.

The program uses money from the American Rescue Plan Act, which the county received for COVID relief initiatives. According to Houston Public Media, other U.S. cities are using the same ARPA funds to pay for similar guaranteed income programs

So far, about 1,900 participants have been selected to receive the payments, which are expected as early as April 24. As of February, the program had received more than 82,000 applications, most of which were identified as Black or Hispanic.

The program targets individuals or households with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, which is equivalent to a family of four living on $60,000 a year or an individual living on $14,580 a year.

According to Harris County, participants in the program can use the money they receive to meet their needs, as long as they don’t use the money for terrorist, criminal or illegal activities.

Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefe said the lawsuit is “nothing more than another attack on Harris County government by Republican state leaders looking to make headlines.”

“When corporations are given taxpayer dollars, Republican leaders in Austin call it ‘economic development’. When governments use federal dollars to actually help people, Republican leaders in Austin call it socialism,” he said.

Written by RA News staff.


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