TX County’s ‘Basic Income’ Welfare Program Halted

Uplift Harris
Uplift Harris | Image by Harris County

Harris County’s ambitious plan to roll out a guaranteed “basic income” welfare pilot program hit a legal roadblock when the Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction, halting the distribution of $500 payments to select residents.

The decision followed an emergency request from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and ongoing litigation challenging the constitutionality of the initiative, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX) responded to Paxton’s plea, ordering a halt to the county’s Uplift Harris program, which aimed to provide no-strings-attached monthly stipends to nearly 2,000 individuals for a period of 18 months. The SCOTX order explicitly prohibits the disbursement of such taxpayer money until further notice, pending a resolution on the program’s legality, according to The Texan.

In a written statement, Paxton expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision, labeling the county’s income scheme a violation of the Texas Constitution. He vowed to continue fighting against what he perceives as an abuse of power and taxpayer funds by Harris County officials.

According to the program’s website, “The goal of the program is to improve participants’ financial and health outcomes, as well as understanding the impacts of guaranteed income on both individuals and their communities.”

County Judge Lina Hidalgo told Houston Public Media, “This has shown to reduce poverty around the country, around the world, and is something that we want to try right here in Harris County.”

Despite initial setbacks in district court and the Texas Court of Appeals, Paxton’s persistence culminated in the emergency appeal to the state’s highest court, leading to the temporary injunction.

The program website states that the county “will continue to defend the Uplift Harris program in courts and work to bring much-needed resources to Harris County residents.”

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