Panhandle Wildfires Devastate Lives, Economy


“Beyond crop and cattle losses, the wildfires produced an adverse ripple effect on the Panhandle’s economy and adjacent economic sectors."

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas In the latest Fiscal Notes, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts looks at the February wildfires that swept through the Texas Panhandle, their damaging effects on the residents and local economies of the 60 counties where a disaster declaration was issued, and disaster relief measures this agency took to provide tax relief to property owners and businesses.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service puts fire-related agricultural losses in the Panhandle at approximately $123 million. The Texas House Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires estimated $27 million in lost cattle. The immediate monetary loss does not reflect the loss of generations of time spent cultivating the genetics of these cattle in the Panhandle.

“Beyond crop and cattle losses, the wildfires produced an adverse ripple effect on the Panhandle’s economy and adjacent economic sectors," Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. "The devastation includes the loss of families who must relocate from the area; the destruction of wildlife and natural habitat, which will impact the local hunting and tourism industries; and the eventual losses to local governments’ tax revenues as sales taxes drop in conjunction with reduced overall economic activity and property owners utilize property tax exemptions for their damaged properties."

During and immediately after the wildfires, the Comptroller's office waived the bond requirements for distributors and importers for licenses issued to provide fuel in Texas to those responding to the wildfires in the disaster-stricken counties, in addition to providing other assistance. 

This month, Fiscal Notes also includes a Q&A with representatives of the Gulf Coast Protection District to learn more about how this special purpose district is working to defend Texans and industry supply chains from the kind of catastrophic storm surge that resulted from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Fiscal Notes provides information, original research and balanced analysis on the Texas economy. It’s one of the ways the Comptroller's office strives to assist and inform taxpayers and the people of Texas. Fiscal Notes content is an extension of the Comptroller's constitutional responsibilities to monitor the state's economy and to estimate state government revenues.
 
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar by is licensed under
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