There is no doubt that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting our lives. It is changing our daily routines and has led federal, state, and local officials to take actions that we have not seen in our lifetimes.

There is a reason – this is a virus that needs to be taken seriously.

One of the days to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to strongly encourage social distancing. This is a recommendation that needs to be followed and not taken lightly. However, it is having a significant impact on the Texas economy.

For the remainder of the interim, our Senate committees will be focused on the impact coronavirus has had and will make recommendations to expedite the recovery of the Texas economy. Much of our work will focus on workforce issues, our small businesses, job creation, health care services, education and ways to mitigate the economic damage.

Our healthcare agencies and frontline health providers are working tirelessly every day to fight the spread of this disease. I will continue to work with state and local officials to do everything possible to ensure these workers have the tools and support they need to continue to provide the critical care needed in a safe manner.

Moreover, it is essential to ficus on whaat can be done to help millions of Texans whose livelihoods have been impacted either through job loss or a reduction in hours and wages. It will take meaningful support by all levels of government – federal, state, and local – as well as within our communities, but we can emerge from this stronger than ever if we take the necessary steps.

Just as important is ensuring the transparency and accountability or our tax dollars, whether federal or state funds, that our government entities have received to combat losses due to this pandemic. In April, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed me to the Senate Finance Committee workgroup on Economic Impact and Budgeting related to COVID-19. This workgroup will focus on tracking all sources of funding to our state agencies and local government entities so that we can be prepared next session to make decisions for a tight budge.

This is not the first time we have had budget challenges, and there is still time to [prepare before the next legislative session. While the recovering period may take some time to get to pre-COVID-19 levels, I am confident that working together we will get through these challenging times.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa of McAllen. It first appeared in his Spring 2020 Capitol Update newsletter. It is republished in The Rio Grande Guardian with the author’s permission. He can be reached via: [email protected]

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