Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said at a May 27 virtual luncheon that the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Record numbers of people are filing for unemployment, and the tourism, hospitality, dining and retail industries are being hit the hardest, Hegar said during the webinar, which was hosted by the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Nearly 60% of all state tax collections are from sales tax, he said, so a slowdown in these businesses has a drastic impact on the health of the state’s economy.

“Looking at unemployment numbers, this is not going to be a quick recovery,” he said.

Data for March sales was not received until this month, so Hegar's office is looking at “nontraditional data points” to analyze the revenue numbers being collected and determine how to move forward while best supporting small businesses where they are now.

“Small businesses are the economic engine for creativity, for job gains,” Hegar said.



The comptroller’s office is working on a case-by-case basis with businesses and will give an updated revenue forecast in July, Hegar said.

Sales tax receipts were down 9.3% year over year last month, and within certain industries, the drops are even more significant: as compared to this time last year, motor vehicle sales are down 45%, hotel stays are down more than 60% and alcohol receipts are down 55%. That trend is expected to continue as more data becomes available, he said.


However, the numbers do show some promise: Hotel occupancy was once as low as 21% amid the pandemic, but it has since increased to 32%, he said. Airport travel, which was down as much as 95% year over year in some parts of the state, has also been steadily increasing, he said.

Another factor to consider is the world economy, Hegar said, to which Texas is closely tied since the state produces 19% of the country’s exported goods. Even though Texas has diversified economically, the events of the Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war contribute to some of the uncertainty around the future of oil and gas jobs in Texas, he said.

“We are very much fundamentally tied to the global economy,” Hegar said. “Some regions of the state may have some type of recessionary impact.”

Overall, Hegar said he expects the state to regain eventually its above-average economic standing, even if it is a slow process.

“The economy, to some degree, is rebounding,” Hegar said. “Texas is going to continue to outpace the national average from an economic perspective.”

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

The Kemah-based nonprofit has provided urban farm experiences to local youth since 2013. (Courtesy Gardenkids of Kemah)
Gardenkids of Kemah aims to help local youth 'protect, plant and play'

The nonprofit will participate in Eco Fest at Hometown Heroes Park in League City on Sept. 19.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available to festival staff, participants and patrons every weekend of the festival this fall. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Texas Renaissance Festival to offer free COVID-19 rapid testing throughout season

Additionally, a free drive-thru testing site will be set up in Todd Mission on Sept. 19.

According to a Texas Supreme Court order, all eviction notices in the state must be accompanied with the CDC eviction order's declaration form. (Courtesy Pexel)
Texas Supreme Court issues order strengthening CDC eviction moratorium

The action aims to strengthen a federal order that renters' advocates say has been falling short in eviction court.

Here is a roundup of local business news in Clear Lake and League City. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Pizza Lounge new location coming soon and more

Here is a roundup of local business news in Clear Lake and League City.

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for Galveston County. (Community Impact staff)
Galveston County removes many of Sept. 8 reported deaths; total now 139

The percentage of active COVID-19 cases has also dropped below 20% for the first time in September.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Houston Police Department is joining Harris County's cite-and-release program. (Courtesy HTV)
Houston Police Department to join Harris County cite-and-release program

Houston Police Department is joining Harris County's cite-and-release program.

Clear Creek ISD has more than 42,000 total students, about 65% of whom returned to in-person learning at the start of the 2020-21 school year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD superintendent search continues with board discussion of targets

The CCISD board of trustees have defined the 2020-21 superintendent targets that will be be used in the annual review process this spring during campus planning.

The Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: COVID-19 pandemic amplifies already-high food insecurity rates across region

Before COVID-19, the Houston Food Bank distributed about 400,000 pounds of food daily. That number has since increased to about 1 million pounds a day.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

Vehicles drive alongside the Tomball Tollway in Harris County. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Newly formed corporation could divert Harris County toll road revenue to non-mobility projects

A new limited government corporation formed by Harris County Sept. 15 could result in surplus revenue from the Harris County Toll Road Authority going to other county needs outside of the realm of transportation and mobility.