SAN ANTONIO - In the aftermath of the worst weather event in state in over a decade, the next biggest bombshell for many of us is the upcoming utility bills that could be just as historic.
Senator José Menéndez believes that the State of Texas needs to come to the aid of taxpayers and not let them weather the brunt of this upcoming financial storm.
"It's all hands on deck," he said during an interview on Monday. "Every idea needs to be vetted. The Economic Stabilization Fund is the state's rainy day fund for emergencies and that's what we have right now. This is a statewide emergency and that money belongs to the taxpayers. That is taxpayer dollars. If we have citizens who through no fault of their own are facing some outrageous bills. We need to find an equitable way that we can apply some money, one time dollars, so that they wouldn't have to be paying for anymore than they would have had the state done everything they needed to do so we wouldn't have gone through this horrible crisis that we just did."
Recently, a Texas man was shocked to get $7K bill from energy company.
The rainy day fund was established in 1988 after a period where the economic output oil and gas revenue was extremely volatile in the 1970s and 80s. The Texas Constitution requires a three-fifths vote in each house to close a revenue shortfall and a two-thirds vote in each house to use it for other reasons.
In the past, the state legislature has been reluctant to loosen its grip on that rainy day fund. Sen. Menendez hopes that grip will loosen up this time around
"The state has an incredible credit rating based on the fact that we have reserves," he said. "I think it is important to have reserves for any organization, but lets never forget that those reserves belong to taxpayers. Many tax payers in Texas are going to be facing astronomical bills, through no fault of their own because the State of Texas has created this market for energy. We've disinsentivized people weatherizing their plants or surplus generation ready to go. This market that we've created has created this situation. I think we have a responsibility to taxpayers to help them offset. I think we all need to come into this together. I think some of the electric companies need to put something into this equation as well. This can't be big State of Texas bailing out big for-profit electric companies. This has to be the State of Texas responds to prevent this from every happening again and help taxpayers get through this horrible crisis that they did not create."
Gov. Abbott recently said that it is 'unacceptable' for Texans to face skyrocketing energy costs after storms.