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Jun 01

June 1, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #54

Posted on June 1, 2020 at 3:33 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Has TDEM issued further guidance for the use of CRF funds by cities in counties less than 500,000 population?  


Yes. Treasury issued an updated version of its FAQ document on May 28, and League staff has broken out in this document the updated or new Q&As there.  In addition, TDEM continues to update its guidance document regularly (it now has over 200 Q&As).


When does Congress reconvene and what is the status of the next round of stimulus measures?


Congress returns to work this week and will soon begin discussing the next round of COVID-19 related stimulus measures. Although no timetable has been set for continued discussions, we are hopeful that Congress will get to work in addressing additional federal funding for states and local governments. As you recall, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act weeks ago. Senate leadership declared that bill to be dead on arrival in the Senate. However, Senators have introduced bipartisan measures to provide much needed aid to states and local governments to deal with the ongoing public health crisis as well as the economic fallout related to the pandemic. 


We encourage city officials to continue visiting with your members of Congress, as well as Senators Cornyn and Cruz, to communicate the needs of your city. We are thankful for your voice during these trying times and we appreciate all that you are doing on behalf your communities.


Further Updates


Has the comptroller released recent tax data that indicates the impact of Coronavirus on state revenues?


Yes, the Texas comptroller issued the following today (June 1):


“Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.61 billion in May, 13.2 percent less than in May 2019 and the steepest year-over-year decline since January 2010.


The majority of May sales tax revenue is based on sales made in April and remitted to the agency in May. Widespread social distancing requirements were in place across much of the state throughout April.


‘Significant declines in sales tax receipts were evident in all major economic sectors, with the exception of telecommunications services,’ Hegar said. ‘The steepest decline was in collections from oil and gas mining, as energy companies cut well drilling and completion spending following the crash in oil prices.’


The business closures and restrictions and stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic spurred deep drops in collections from restaurants, amusement and recreation services, and physical retail stores. These declines were offset in part by increases from big box retailers and grocery stores that remained open as essential businesses, online retailers and restaurants that could readily pivot to takeout and delivery service.


‘With the easing of state and local government social distancing orders beginning in May, business activity in the sectors most affected by measures to curb the pandemic should begin to slowly recover, but operations resuming at reduced capacity will result in continued reductions in employment, income and activity subject to sales tax for months to come.’


Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 57 percent of all tax collections, but the effects of the economic slowdown and low oil prices were evident in other sources of revenue in May 2020. Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:


-Motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $265 million, down 38 percent from May 2019 and a modest improvement over April’s results;

-Motor fuel taxes — $221 million, down 30 percent from May 2019 and the steepest drop since 1989;

natural gas production tax — $31 million, down 76 percent from May 2019;

-Oil production tax — $90 million, the lowest monthly amount since July 2010, down 75 percent from May 2019 and the steepest drop since a 77 percent drop in March 1988;

-Hotel occupancy tax — $8 million, down 86 percent from May 2019 and the steepest drop on record in data going back to 1982; and

-Alcoholic beverage taxes — $28 million, down 76 percent from May 2019 and the steepest drop on record in data going back to 1980.


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 our updated Sources of Revenue publication.” 


Can a mayor still email the attorney general for legal guidance related to the COVID-19 emergency?


Yes. The email listed in prior TML updates is no longer valid. Please use the electronic submission form on the attorney general’s website or email directly to The web page provides the following:


Dis?as?ter Coun?sel Legal Advice


Pursuant to Senate Bill 416 passed by the 86th Legislature, the Attorney General’s Office may provide legal counsel to political subdivisions (cities and counties) subject to a declared state of disaster on issues related to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery applicable to the area subject to the disaster declaration.


This form is not intended for general legal matters unrelated to a declared disaster.


Under Government Code § 418.193, the Attorney General’s Office may only provide legal counsel to certain designated officials. If you are not an official designated in the statute, the Attorney General’s Office is unable to provide you with legal counsel.” 


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.