Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar recently released a report on the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey to the state's economy. Harvey, the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961, resulted in an estimated $16.8 billion decrease in gross state product. The storm's wrath, which claimed nearly 180,000 Texas homes, is somewhat offset by dollars spent on recovery. The report says that spending relating to recovery efforts reduces the gross state product loss to closer to $800 million. Yet that is still a significant loos to our state.
Taking a closer look at economic losses, the report looks at how the storm affects different sectors. For example, it accounts for a $699 million loss to public property, such as government buildings, roads, etc. Around a quarter million vehicles were damaged or destroyed, more than $200 million crop and livestock losses add to the total, as did a 50 percent drop in winter tourism to the Texas coast.
Yet the full accounting also includes spending on recovery activities that aided the economy in certain areas. As emergency response crews, debris removal and infrastructure repair firms were activated post-storm, that spending added to the state's gross product.
However, these accounting figures can never speak to the human cost of the storm and the loss of personal property that mean so much to our families. As the Coastal Bend moves forward, the state legislature will look at ways to aid the economic recovery.