Where can I access a summary of the key topics you’ve covered
in these Updates?
TML staff launched these Coronavirus Updates in mid-March when
our cities started feeling the effects of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve
produced more than 350 pages of archived information.
We know it’s hard to digest it all, so we’re offering a
comprehensive update at the TML Virtual Annual Conference and Exhibition on
October 14 at 1:30 p.m. Scott Houston, TML Deputy Executive Director and
General Counsel, will lead the discussion, and will be joined by Assistant
General Counsels Christy Drake-Adams, Amber McKeon-Mueller, and Evelyn
Njuguna. Register here to listen in on this update, and view more
than 30 other conference sessions, many of which are related to disaster
recovery and resilience.
What’s the latest with regard to evictions?
As described by The Texas Tribune, “the federal
government announced a nationwide eviction moratorium Tuesday (September
1) that is designed to protect renters from losing their homes until the end
of the year. The order could keep millions of Texans from being evicted.”
“The new order, issued by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and set to be published Friday, says that COVID-19 is a
‘historic threat to public health’ and that eviction moratoriums can
‘I want to make it unmistakably clear that I’m protecting
people from evictions,’ President Donald Trump said in a White House press
According to the text of the order:
“There is currently a pandemic of a respiratory disease
(“COVID-19”) caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) that has now spread
globally, including cases reported in all fifty states within the United
States plus the District of Columbia and U.S. territories (excepting American
Samoa). As of August 24, 2020, there were over 23,000,000 cases of COVID-19
globally resulting in over 800,000 deaths; over 5,500,000 cases have been
identified in the United States, with new cases being reported daily and over
174,000 deaths due to the disease.”
The order provides “rent deferral”, rather than forgiveness,
until December 31. Similar to the payroll tax deferral, the eviction order defers payment
until the end of the year, at which time all past due amounts come
due. An Individual will qualify if he or she:
1. has used best efforts to obtain all available government
assistance for rent or housing;
2. either: (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual
income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax
return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S.
Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment
(stimulus check) pursuant to the CARES Act;
3. is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing
payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable
hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical
4. is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that
are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may
permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
5. would likely be rendered homeless by eviction – or be
forced to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared
living setting – because the individual has no other available housing
What’s the latest with students returning to college?
According to online media, members of the President’s Coronavirus Task
Force held a call with governors yesterday (September 1). On the call,
Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House
Coronavirus Task Force, and Vice-President Mike Pence, asked governors to
tell their college presidents to keep virus-infected students on campus to
avoid major outbreaks.
“We know that what happened across the South [earlier this
year] was primarily driven by 18-to-25 year olds, across the South, with
asymptomatic spread,” said Dr. Birx. “Sending these individuals back home in
their asymptomatic state to spread the virus in their home town or among
their vulnerable households could really recreate what we experienced over
the June time frame in the South. So I think every university president
should have a plan for not only testing but caring for their students that
need to isolate.”
Vice President Pence said, “In general, we want to encourage,
even when you have test positivity on campuses, we want to encourage
universities to have students remain on or near campus and minimize the
potential exposure to the larger community. We really believe – and I
spoke to a university president just the other day – in suspending classes
for a few weeks, have people study in their rooms, and... that kind of isolation…
for the overall health and well-being [of everyone].”
Yesterday, according to a local news outlet, Texas Tech confirmed
239 total active cases of COVID-19 in students. Similarly, Texas State reported 24 new cases last Friday (August 28). Most
colleges and universities post data on their websites. For example, UT
has a COVID-19 dashboard.
Texas A&M’s dashboard shows 290 cases for the week ending August 23,
with a positivity rate of 11.83 percent for August. (Editor’s
note: Seeing those numbers, I’ll stick to being an oft-maligned
What’s the latest from the Texas comptroller on revenue?
Yesterday (September 1), Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar
released totals for fiscal 2020 state revenues (the state closes its fiscal
year at the end of each August):
-General revenue-related revenue for fiscal 2020 totaled
$56.98 billion, down 1.5 percent from fiscal 2019.
-All funds tax collections were $57.38 billion, down 3.4
percent from fiscal 2019.
-Sales tax revenue was $34.10 billion, up 0.2 percent over
-Motor vehicle sales and rental tax revenue was $4.8 billion,
down 3.9 percent from fiscal 2019.
-Franchise tax revenue was $4.42 billion, up 4.8 percent over
-Oil production tax revenue was $3.23 billion, down 16.9
percent from fiscal 2019.
-Natural gas production tax revenue was $925 million, down
45.1 percent from fiscal 2019.
-All Funds revenue was $141.58 billion, up 10.7 percent over
fiscal 2019, primarily due to substantial increases in federal funding for
“Yearly revenues were slightly ahead of our projections in the
revised Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE) released in
July,” Hegar said. “This was, in part, due to surprisingly strong July sales
tax collections as Texans’ spending for home improvement projects increased
while they spent more time at home both for teleworking and staycations, in
lieu of leisure travel. Those July gains, however, were largely reversed
in August, bringing actual collections closer to, but still ahead of, our
The Economic Stabilization Fund and State Highway Fund both
receive funding from oil and natural gas severance taxes. In November, the
comptroller’s office will deposit $1.13 billion in each of those funds, down
from the $1.67 billion deposited in each fund in November 2019.
Hegar also said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.82 billion
in August, 5.6 percent less than in August 2019.
For details on all monthly collections, visit the
Comptroller's Monthly State Revenue Watch. For an extensive history of
tax policy developments and fees since 1972, visit the updated Sources of Revenue publication
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
Updates are archived by date here and by subject here