The Not-So-Great Outdoors, Cont'd.
Wed July 12, 2006 9:47 am

Oh, my goodness: It seems that somebody is actually reading this stuff. See the comment by Art Chapman of the Star-Telegram, who has done great work on the state of the state parks, taking me to task for letting the Legislature off the hook and blaming governor Rick Perry and his Parks and Wildlife commissioners instead. And then there was that call from a commissioner. Sorry, but I’m going to stick by my guns. Chapman is right that budget writers have capped the amount that P&W can receive from the sporting goods tax. So what? The Legislature has higher priorities than parks. House appropriations chairman Jim Pitts said last year during floor debate that 96 cents of every general revenue dollar is going to the big-ticket items of public ed, higher ed, health and human services, and law enforcement. In the absence of a crisis, that’s what it’s going to continue doing unless somebody intervenes to change it. One of the good aspects of the state’s cumbersome executive branch management system, in which state agencies are overseen by boards and commissioners appointed by the governor, is that appointees with clout can go to the Legislature and sear the consciences of the budget writers by saying, “We’ve got a crisis.” And they can go to the governor himself. Otherwise, the Legislature will keep doing what it has been doing, which is oiling the squeakiest wheels. No squeaky wheels, no grease.

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