Houston area leaders debating on Uplift Harris program

"New life" for Harris County's $20 million basic guaranteed income plan. On Thursday, a judge denied Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's bid to block the Uplift Harris program, a move that will likely land the dispute in the state Supreme Court. 

It all came down to a fundamental question: Will giving 1,900 low-income families a $500 monthly stipend prove a hand-up or a wasteful handout?

As the recipients wait for the courts to decide whether the aid is legal, advocates and critics are waging a very public debate.

RELATED: Uplift Harris: Reaction after Texas AG sues to stop Harris County's guaranteed income program

"Uplift Harris is about helping struggling families make ends meet, put food on the table, and keep the lights on," said Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner, Rodney Ellis.

"You just can't give out money on street corners like popcorn because that really is lottery socialism," Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt stated.

"As we know, after the pandemic, prices went up sky-high and has been proven to be successful. Stop picking on poor people, guys. Let's work on other things," Sergio Lira of Lulac Houston said during What's Your Point.

"Why stop at $500 a month? Why don't we give them 10,000 a month to have them be truly in the middle class? This is a giant joke," What's Your Point Commentator Gary Polland expressed. 

"And Ken Paxton is playing political games with their lives. And I ask Mr. Paxton, come down and meet with some of these families and tell them straight to their face and see what it was that they were going to use those dollars for," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo during a press conference.

"You're not letting us go. Give out $500 a month to buy votes, and therefore you're threatening democracy. I mean, just like, I don't know, I just sort of wears you out," said Bill King during What's Your Point.

"Why the heck does Ken Paxton care? This is not state money. This is federal money. And we're trying to help people," Christian Menefee said in a press conference.

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"Putting more people on government dependency see, doesn't solve the problem of inequality," Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt stated.

And I know some members of the Texas Supreme Court. When it gets there, I hope they will rise above petty political partisanship," Ellis added.

The Texas Supreme Court must determine if the monthly payments amount to a gift from government with no specific purpose. The county attorney contends that the "purpose" is pretty clear: relieving poverty.