Proposition 8 (HJR 4) “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.”
Proposition 8 would create the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) as a special fund outside of general revenue. A one-time distribution from the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the “rainy day fund,” would establish the FIF. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) would distribute FIF funds to local governments through loans or, in some cases, as grants.The money would be used to establish and maintain flood control structures and drainage infrastructure throughout the state, especially in economically distressed areas.
If passed, Proposition 8 would require cooperation among all impacted parties. A local government would receive money from the FIF only if it worked with other governments in the region and listened to stakeholder concerns in public meetings. The local government would also have to submit a technical analysis of the plan, comparing it to other possible projects in the region, and a proposal to repay the loan.
- Severe flooding events such as Hurricane Harvey show the necessity of being prepared to prevent future damage.
- Access to federal funding and grants often requires local governments to match the amount of money the federal government would provide. The proposed amendment would allow the TWDB to give loans to local governments so they could access federal funds.
- Because removing money from the Economic Stabilization Fund to create the FIF would be a one-time expense, rather than ongoing, it would not drain the “rainy day fund.”
- A local government could default on a TWDB loan, thereby costing the state income meant to replenish the FIF. Taxpayers might ultimately be liable for repayment of loans.
- Historically, state government has not played a heavy role in funding flood-control infrastructure. Flood control is the responsibility of both local and federal governments, rather than state government.
- Using money from the “rainy day fund” to establish the FIF could be inappropriate because only one-time expenses or funds for disaster response should be removed from the “rainy day fund.” Because the FIF itself is an ongoing project, funds to create it should be taken from general revenue.
For more information: House Research Organization HJR 4