Texas AG Sues Over Monthly Cash to County Residents: “Plainly Unconstitutional”

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Austin, Texas – In an unprecedented move, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against Harris County, alleging their innovative Uplift Harris program violates the state’s constitution. Touted as a lifeline for struggling families, the program grants nearly 2,000 residents a monthly stipend of 0 for 18 months.

Uplift Harris’s Ambitious Goals

Launched in 2024, Uplift Harris marked a groundbreaking experiment in addressing economic disparities. Through a random lottery process, the county selected 1,924 households from over 59,000 applicants to receive monthly cash assistance. The goal: to provide financial stability and empower families to break the cycle of poverty.

Attorney General’s Contention

However, Attorney General Paxton’s lawsuit argues that Uplift Harris is illegal, citing Article III, Section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution. This section prohibits any government entity from granting public funds or resources to individuals without justification or accountability.

Paxton contends that the program’s lack of conditions, control over expenditures, and assurance of public benefit make it an improper use of taxpayer money. He maintains that distributing these funds with no safeguards or expectations of a general gain violates the constitution’s requirement that public funds be spent responsibly.

Equal Protection and Individual Rights

The lawsuit also raises concerns about equal protection under the law. Paxton argues that the program’s arbitrary selection process and its exclusion of undocumented immigrants violate the constitutional rights of all Texans.

Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General

Harris County’s Response

Harris County officials declined to comment immediately on the lawsuit. However, in the past, they have defended Uplift Harris as an essential tool for addressing the financial challenges facing many residents. They believe the program aligns with the county’s mission to promote economic equity and create a more just society.

Implications for Other Guaranteed Income Programs

The outcome of this lawsuit has significant implications for other guaranteed income programs across the United States. Currently, several cities and states are exploring or implementing similar initiatives to address poverty and economic insecurity. Paxton’s lawsuit could set a precedent that could hinder their implementation or restrict their scope.

Conclusion

The lawsuit against Uplift Harris has sparked a heated debate about the role of government in providing financial assistance to its citizens. Critics argue that the program promotes dependency and discourages self-sufficiency. Supporters maintain that it provides a vital lifeline to struggling families and empowers them to improve their lives. The court’s decision on this case is sure to have a profound impact on the future of guaranteed income programs and the efforts to combat poverty in Texas and beyond.

Data sourced from: foxnews.com