Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis Implements $20 million Universal Basic Income Program Resulting in a RFP Costing County Constituents to conduct a million Dollar "Study"
County Commissioner Rodney Ellis implemented in a Commissioners Court meeting a “guaranteed income pilot program” that would be limited to “qualified households” for eighteen months. Funded using $20.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding, it would target the top ten high poverty zip codes in Harris County as well as participants of ACCESS Harris County, which coordinate services for those in need of services across the county.
In March, Commissioners Court voted to support a bill in the Texas Legislature to create six new courts. At the time, Judge Lina Hidalgo abstained from the vote saying, “we’re putting ourselves in the hole $17 million annually. It’s just not responsible. It’s like we’re choosing one project we just decided to fund.” The same statement can certainly apply here. If the court approves this pilot either they intend to work the overall cost into the budget after COVID funds expire or they are doing so knowing that the program is unsustainable and plan to let it end.
$20 million would not only help the court system, but also our Houston Forensic Science Center. While the HFSC is largely funded by the City of Houston, it still provides services for some county agencies and is facing a 200 firearm case backlog that, according to the director, could take 20,000 labor hours to get through. They’re also struggling from a 78% increase in the cost of commercial DNA testing. If the county is going to invest money out of its traditional wheelhouse, why not for an existing agency that could use it to improve the quality of life for residents across the entire county?
-Per Charles Blain
To add insult to injury, once again, the Harris Democrat Majority voted 3-1 down party lines to allocate nearly a million to “conduct a study” on the Universal basic income program. We all know that these studies are just a way to pilfer more taxpayer money and allow the county to claim they don’t have enough money for law enforcement and basic infrastructure.
Upon futher research, I discovered that the County has formed a special relationship with these *SPECIFIC* Vendors, which hold ties to big pharma, Arnold Ventures, and locations outside of Langley, VA.
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