TPWD 2014-2015 Legislative Appropriations Request Facts
Updated March 6, 2013
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department submitted its Legislative Appropriations Request for the 2014-2015 biennium to the Legislative Budget Board on Aug. 23, 2012.
- TPWD's LAR includes a base budget request of $507 million and a request for additional funding totaling $103 million in six exceptional items. (See complete list below.)
- In the last week of February, the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees reviewed subcommittee reports that recommend approving most of TPWD's exceptional items, including more than $18 million requested to maintain current state park operations.
- "Barring any catastrophic event like a hurricane, extreme drought or a wildfire, if subcommittee recommendations to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees are accepted, that would mean that no state parks will close due to lack of funding in the next two years," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. "Further, those recommendations would also fund many of the critical requests for the fisheries and wildlife side of our business. Things aren't final until the full chambers vote and the state budget bill is passed, but these committee actions speak loudly as a demonstration of support from state elected leaders for parks and conservation."
- The two main areas yet to be addressed in TPWD's exceptional items involve bond funding for major repairs and local park grants.
- Regarding the department's Exceptional Item 3 request for capital construction funds, the initial House budget bill had already provided $8 million for repair and construction at fish hatcheries and other non-park facilities. The latest action sent TPWD's remaining request for $32 million in general obligation bonds for repairs at state parks and other facilities to a different legislative workgroup that is still considering bond funding for all state agencies.
- Regarding Exceptional Item 5 requesting $15.5 million to restore funding for local park grants to cities, counties and others, the latest House budget bill put this in Article 11, essentially a contingency or waiting area for items yet to be funded, with similar action in the Senate.
- TPWD's LAR exceptional items for 2014-2015 include, in two-year biennial totals:
- $18.9 million for state parks. About $11.2 million of that amount, plus $2.4 million for unfunded salary related expenses, is needed to maintain current state park operations.
- $11.9 million to restore capital budget reductions for vehicles, equipment and information technology
- $40 million for capital repair and construction at state parks, wildlife management areas, fish hatcheries and other TPWD facilities. Would be funded in large part with $32 million in general obligation bond proceeds
- $13 million to restore fish and wildlife funding for habitat management and research, enhanced hunting and wildlife-related recreation, landowner technical guidance, inland and coastal fisheries management and hatchery operations
- $15.5 million to restore funding for local park grants to cities, counties and others
- $3.7 million to manage state Data Center cost increases and fund Information Technology capital needs