Texas Border Business
As originally published in Texas Border Business newsprint edition May 2020
On Tuesday, May 5, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) issued the following statement:
“Last Thursday evening, I suffered a fall while working around my home. Thankfully, I received the immediate medical attention I needed.
I would like to thank Hidalgo County EMS personnel, Dr. Javier Cortinas, and all the amazing medical emergency room doctors and hospital personnel who provided me with world class health care. I am also grateful to my nurses, Rachel, Abby and Jorge who took such good care of me until my discharge.
I’m currently working from home, following the advice of my doctors who expect a full recovery. I will continue my focus and work on the needs of the 15th Congressional District of Texas and will be back to my office as soon as I am physically able. I appreciate everyone’s prayers and well wishes.”
Lorena Saenz Gonzalez, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez’ wife wrote on Facebook: “I am so grateful to God that my husband is now at home recovering with a good prognosis after such a dangerous fall.” She continued, “We are so appreciative to Hidalgo EMS, Dr. Cortina, and hospital personnel who took such good care of Vicente.”
Even though Congressman Gonzalez was at home as per the doctor’s order, he kept working. On Thursday, May 7, 2020, Congressman Gonzalez participated in a Facebook Live “Virtual Congress” Floor Debate with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus regarding whether to provide additional aid to state and local governments in the next COVID-19 package and the best method for doing so.
Congressman Gonzalez argued that local governments of all sizes must be eligible to receive direct assistance from the CARES 2.0 package that is being drafted by the House and Senate.
Congressman Gonzalez’s prepared remarks as follow: Local governments of all sizes –our counties, cities, and towns – must be eligible to receive direct assistance from the CARES 2.0 package currently being pieced together by the House and the Senate.
In the 15th District of Texas, municipalities have collectively lost tens of millions of dollars in revenue derived from hotel occupancy, bridge tariffs and property taxes.
These towns do not have access to the Federal Reserve’s programs as others do!
These revenue streams fund basic services for the residents of our communities.
Municipalities with less than 500,000 people are in dire need of funds to ensure they don’t have to declare bankruptcy in the weeks and months to come as our country begins the process of recovering from the unfortunate recession caused by COVID-19.
The first CARES Package, as currently written, only allows for one of the eight counties and none of the cities or towns in my district to receive funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
These other seven counties I represent span 250 miles from north to south. Some of the cities have a population of as little at 700 people and are very rural.
And these counties, cities and towns matter as much as the major metropolitan areas in our country.
I have heard from constituents, aldermen, county judges, city mayors, and other elected officials across my district who have told me, time and time again, that local revenue loss is of great concern for the future solvency of their respective communities.
Property taxes are a major factor in this revenue loss given the drop in real estate value because of COVID-19.
We must ensure that CARES 2.0 allows for counties to be able to seek reimbursement for property taxes that fall below their appraised value.
The owner of the real estate should not have to pay more than their property’s fair market value and certainly not some inflated value that was lost due to COVID-19’s effects on real estate markets.
We need to also balance the equation by ensuring that the taxing body does not completely lose out on this revenue, which has already been projected in budgets that must be balanced due to COVID-19.
It is for these reasons, and others, that I strongly urge House and Senate leadership to stop the partisan bickering and consider their constituents.
All towns and cities in the United States need help and they need it fast.
This is not a bail out, but a lifeline.
If these funds are not provided as soon as possible, there will be detrimental consequences for hundreds of thousands of people in my district and others across the nation.
For the full video of Congressman Gonzalez, please click here (28:08).