With millions of Americans being ordered to stay home to combat the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, many businesses are experiencing an abrupt decline in revenue, if not an all-out halt. They’re struggling to meet payroll and faced with difficult decisions about cutting staff.
Last week, the U.S. Labor Department reported 281,000 new claims for unemployment benefits, up 70,000 from the previous week. Economists at Morgan Stanley expect this week’s numbers to top 3.4 million, and the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently said the unemployment rate could climb to as much as 30 percent in the second quarter.
So far, despite closing in-restaurant dining and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, Gov. Greg Abbott has not instituted a “stay-at-home” order for all Texans, as the governors of at least 17 other states have. However, he explained in a press conference Sunday that counties and cities throughout the state could issue such orders if they determined it necessary, adding that he would “applaud” those that did.
In response, officials in several of the state’s largest population centers have done just that, and more join this list daily. As thousands of Texans lose their jobs and legislators begin to discuss ways to cut spending at the state level, local officials should be asked, “What sacrifices are you making?”
Politicians are notorious for making decisions that don’t directly affect them but have a drastic effect on their constituents. If millions of Texans are restricted from working and being forced to alter their routines, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that reductions in pay should be on the table for those responsible.
Here are the salaries of elected officials in some of the counties that have instituted “stay-at-home” orders:
Bell County Judge David Blackburn – $120,966
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff – $166,830
Brazos County Judge Duane Peters – $103,062
Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. – $70,743
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins – $171,367
Denton County Judge Andy Eads – $135,470
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego – $103,020
Fort Bend County Judge KP George – $ 135,951
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo – $190,861
McLennan County Judge Scott Felton – $122,269
Rockwall County Judge David Sweet – $94,378
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley – $182,482
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt – $122,671
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell – $117,795
(Salary information was compiled from the 2018 Salary Survey published by the Texas Association of Counties. This index is published biennially and may not reflect the most recent figures.)