Case Counts/Testing in Texas — As of Tuesday, June 2nd (3:45PM data)
Total Test Performed — 1,117,274
Confirmed Cases — 66,568
Active Cases — 20,353
Fatalities — 1,698
Recovered Cases — 44,517
Protestors Gather for 5th Straight Day
For a fifth straight day, protestors gathered in front of the state Capitol and in many cities across the state. For the most part, the demonstrations remained peaceful. No damage was reported to or around the Capitol. And in Houston, and estimated 60,000, including many elected officials, gathered and marched peacefully in what was mostly an incident free demonstration.
But in San Antonio, where protests started out very peaceful, they turned more chaotic late in the evening. According to reports, protestors near Alamo Plaza began to throw glass bottles at police, and police responded with tear gas and non lethal projectiles in an attempt to restrain the crowd. In response, the mayor has shut down Alamo Plaza through the weekend.
No Military Help for Texas
In a press conference in Dallas yesterday, Gov. Abbott stated that Texas does not need assistance from the US military to contain the protests happening nightly throughout the state. This came after President Trump announced on Monday that if states are not able to control, or refuse to take action to defend its citizens and property, he would authorize active military troops to be deployed to stop the unrest. Abbott has already deployed 3,000 state troopers and activated the National Guard to assist local police forces with the enforcement of order during the demonstrations, and Abbott said the state is handling the situations adequately and not in need of federal assistance.
More on State Tax Collections
As reported earlier, state sales tax collections were down 13.2% in May as compared to the same month in 2019. Sales tax revenue makes up nearly 60% of all tax revenue the state needs to craft is biennial budget, which will undoubtedly lead to a significant budget deficit next year. In addition, many other sources of tax revenue are down significantly, that will further complicate the state fiscal outlook moving forward. Below are the figures for other tax collections as released by the Comptroller on Monday:
Motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — down 38% from May of last year Motor fuels taxes — down 30%, the steepest decline since 1989 Natural gas production — down 76% from May of last year Oil production tax — down 75% from May of last year, and the lowest monthly amount collected since July of 2010 Hotel occupancy tax — down 86% from May of last year Alcoholic beverage taxes — down 76% from May of last year, and the steepest drop since 1980
Texas Workforce Commission Extends Benefits Period
As of the latest figures released last week, 2.2 million Texans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. The TWC has paid out approximately $9.7 billion in benefits using both state and federal funds. Under previous federal and state laws, Texans were eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits. Now, Texans receiving benefits will now be eligible for an additional 26 weeks, doubling the amount of time benefits are available. On Monday, the US Department of Labor notified the TWC that due to provisions passed by Congress in the Coronavirus Relief Bill, the state can now provide for the additional benefits.
Quinnipiac University just released a poll showing President Trump and likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden are in a virtual tie. Trump was favored by 44% with Biden the choice of 43%. This is obviously significant since President Trump carried the state by 9 points in 2016. Further, a Democrat has not won the state of Texas in a Presidential election since Jimmy Carter won in 1976. For state officials, voters were asked about favorability ratings for Governor Abbott and both US Senators. Abbott received a 56% favorable rating, Cruz was at 45% while Cornyn came in at 37%, down 4 points from a Quinnipiac poll done in September of last year. The low approval rating for a 3-term US Senator will give the Democrats hope in their quest to unseat Cornyn, who is up for reelection in November. A link to the full poll can be found here: https://poll.qu.edu/texas/release-detail?ReleaseID=3662
In related polling news, Monmouth University also released a poll today that shows Biden now has an 11 point lead nationally over President Trump, 52% to 41%. Biden’s lead has grown over the past three months when a similar poll showed Biden with just a 3 point lead.
Political Party UpdatesYesterday on Twitter, President Trump said that the Republican Party will seek another state to host its national convention this summer. Charlotte, North Carolina had been scheduled to host the convention, but Trump’s frustration over the state’s slow pace of reopening and refusal to commit to a fully open and fully attended convention led to the action by Trump. The Texas Republican Party has offered to assist in bringing the convention to Texas, which remain a possibility. National party officials are also now weighing other options, with visits scheduled to other cities including Las Vegas, Orlando, and Atlanta.
The Texas Democratic Party is currently holding their convention, and it is all being held virtually. Democrats in Texas are hoping to capitalize on the tight race between Trump and Biden, as well as the low polling numbers displayed by Senator John Cornyn. Also, a huge focus for the Democrats is laying the groundwork for the fall campaign to regain control of the Texas House, which they have not controlled since 2002. Furthermore, no Democrat has won a statewide race since Dan Morales was elected Attorney General in 1994.
Finally… Governor Abbott told KRIV TV in Houston as late as last night that he would be making an announcement today regarding the next stage of reopening in Texas. As of now, no announcement has been made, and no press alerts have occurred. If and when any announcements are made regrading more reopening in the state, I will again update you.