Texas AG Ken Paxton sues Harris County over guaranteed income program 'Uplift Harris'

Shannon Ryan Image
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Texas AG Ken Paxton sues Harris County over guaranteed income program
The attorney general claims the Uplift Harris program "redistributes public money in a manner that violates the Texas Constitution."

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Harris County on Tuesday to stop its guaranteed basic income pilot program.

The program the lawsuit is referring to is called Uplift Harris, the county's guaranteed basic income pilot program that provides $500 per month to low-income families.

According to the lawsuit, the county is violating the Texas Constitution by redistributing $20.5 million it received through the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act to be used for COVID-19 relief initiatives. It also claims the selection of recipients is "inherently arbitrary."

Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said that this provision was intended to prohibit government officials from using public funds to "give money to their buddies as a gift."

"This isn't designed to do that. This guaranteed basic income program is about lifting people out of poverty. Thats why it was legal back when former President Donald Trump issued the stimulus check," Menefee said.

In the lawsuit Paxton wrote, he claims "There is no such thing as free money - especially in Texas." He called the program a socialist experiment carried out by progressive Democrats responsible for the Harris County disaster.

"It's wrong and these families shouldn't have to suffer so that Ken Paxton can make FOX News," Menefee said.

Menefee said there will be two hearings on the case. The first of which takes place this week. He said he believes the case will be escalated to the state's supreme court.

Texas Supreme Court justices are appointed by sitting governors. Currently, all justices are Republican, and for that reason, Menefee believes the court will side with Paxton.

"I want Harris County residents to be ready, potentially, for this to be the end of the Uplift Harris program," he said.

The video above is from a previous report.

READ MORE: Harris Co. commissioners approve 'Uplift Harris' program, OK fight over election restrictions

Read the full lawsuit here:

Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee will represent the defendants in the suit, the county said.

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