Is Congress considering additional stimulus measures and how
can we express our support for aid to local governments?
Yes, President Joe Biden is working with the new Congress to
pass another economic stimulus and relief package that will include another
round of stimulus checks, funding for a nationwide vaccine distribution
effort, and aid to states and cities affected by the pandemic.
Please join mayors across Texas in signing this letter urging our Congressional
delegation to provide direct and flexible assistance to Texas cities. Mayors
interested in signing on to the letter, email your name, city, and electronic
signature to firstname.lastname@example.org by
3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3, to be included.
What additional information on the effect of the virus on the
economy has the comptroller compiled?
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar shared the following information
in a special issue of his Fiscal Notes Newsletter titled “Weathering
the Pandemic – Texas Industries and COVID-19”:
“All Texas industries have been affected by the COVID-19
pandemic, but some have struggled more than others. In the recently released
December/January edition of Fiscal Notes, our office takes a closer
look at some of the industries most affected by the pandemic, including
hotels and motels, restaurants and bars, retailers, airlines and hospitals. .
Nine out of the 10 U.S. industries with the biggest job losses
during the pandemic were service providers, including hotels, performing arts
venues and restaurants. In Texas, employment in the arts, entertainment and
recreation industries fell by nearly half from February to April 2020 and
remained 27 percent lower in November, according to data from the Texas
Workforce Commission. Employment at hotels, restaurants and bars fell by 12.5
percent during this period.
The most significant characteristic shared by the hardest-hit
industries is their inherent need to operate in close quarters with their
customers; their profitability typically depends on face-to-face encounters
or crowds, from restaurants to sports arenas. Many sectors are financially
fragile, with little cash on hand to weather an economic downturn. In
addition, some businesses have been affected by the lack of consumer
confidence and a concern for individual health and safety.
Fiscal Notes furthers the Comptroller’s constitutional
responsibility to monitor the state’s economy and estimate state government
revenues. It has been published since 1975, featuring in-depth analysis
concerning state finances and original research by subject-matter experts in
the Comptroller’s office.
For questions about how the agency functions are continuing
during the outbreak, visit the COVID-19 News page or our Virtual Field Office. Fiscal Notes is available online and can be
received by subscribing via the Comptroller’s website.”
What’s the latest from the comptroller on sales tax revenue
during the pandemic?
Yesterday (February 1), Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar issued
the following press release:
“State sales tax revenue totaled $3.07 billion in January,
which is 0.3 percent less than in January 2020. The majority of January
sales tax revenue is based on sales made in December and remitted to the
agency in January.
‘The slight decline in total sales tax revenue masks starkly
contrasting results among economic sectors, with strong gains in collections
from retail trade offset by continued deep declines in collections from
recreational services and the oil-and-gas-related sectors,’ Hegar said.
‘Stay-at-home spending trends that emerged in response to the COVID-19
pandemic continued through the Christmas shopping season, with elevated receipts
coming from online vendors, electronics and appliance stores, building
materials and home furnishings stores, big box general merchandisers and
sporting goods stores.’
‘While oil and gas well drilling activity has risen from lows
reached earlier in the pandemic, the December active rotary rig count for
Texas was still more than 60 percent lower than a year ago, depressing sales
tax receipts from mining, construction, manufacturing and equipment rental
and leasing businesses. Receipts from restaurants also remained below
levels seen a year ago, while receipts from recreational services — such
as live music venues, amusement parks, bowling centers and fitness
clubs — remained severely depressed.’
Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in January
2020 was down 3.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Sales tax
is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for
59 percent of all tax collections. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
continued to be evident in some sources of revenue in January 2020.
Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:
-motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $408 million, down
13.4 percent from January 2020;
-motor fuel taxes — $294 million, down 4.7 percent from
-oil production tax — $255 million, down 35.7 percent from
-natural gas production tax — $103 million, down 21.6 percent
from January 2020;
-hotel occupancy tax — $27 million, down 35.1 percent from
January 2020; and
-alcoholic beverage taxes — $94 million, down 27.6 percent
from January 2020.
For details on all monthly collections, visit the Comptroller’s Monthly State Revenue Watch. For an
extensive history of tax policy developments and fees since 1972, visit the
recently updated Sources of Revenue publication.”
What’s the latest information on the pandemic from other state
On January 25, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) hosted a COVID-19 interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci. In
the interview with GMA's Larry Hanson (Executive Director), Rusi Patel
(General Counsel), and Kelli Bennett (Director of Communications), Dr.
Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president) shared an inside
look into the COVID-19 vaccines, gave his professional opinion on when we can
expect a return to normal, and explained what local leaders can do to engage
with and protect their communities.
What resource has the National League of Cities provided to
help local leaders support COVID-19 distribution?
On January 15, National League of Cities’ Chief Executive
Officer, Clarence Anthony, and Dr. Oscar Alleyne, Chief of Programs and
Services at the National Association of County and City Health Officials,
spoke in a conversation and Q&A about the role of local leaders
in vaccine distribution.
This event kicked off NLC's ongoing conversations with mayors
and local elected officials about supporting their communities and ensuring
equity in COVID-19 vaccinations.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.