Many legislators dip into the bottomless barrel of pork to benefit their districts, but few brag about it outside of their home towns. One notable exception: Tom Craddick. There was a lot of talk last session that the speaker had made off like a bandit for Midland. But you have to know where to look, and the appropriations bill doesn’t yield its secrets readily, and so the details went unknown. Not any more: Craddick has revealed all, on his own Web site. This strikes me as quite bizarre. Why would he want everybody to know how he has used his position?
Here’s what Craddick listed. The language is his. The totals are mine.
* Through the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, Beal Park is set to receive $1,000,000 in matching funds and the Sibley Nature Center will receive $500,000 in matching funds.
RUNNING TOTAL: $1,500,000
* The Texas Tech Health Science Center will receive $1,000,000 for operating costs associated with the expansion of the Physicians Assistant (PA) program operated in conjunction with Midland College. It will also receive $5,000,000 for equipment related to the new OB-GYN and Internal Medicine facility being constructed with funds appropriated during the 79th Legislature as a joint project through Texas Tech Health Science Center and Midland Memorial Hospital.
RUNNING TOTAL: $7,500,000
* Midland College will receive $200,000 to continue the expansion of the Bachelor of Applied Technology program.
RUNNING TOTAL: $7,700,000
* University of Texas of the Permian Basin is set to receive $7,500,000 for facility and road enhancements to complete access to the new Performing Arts Center, $500,000 in operating costs for new Performing Arts Center, and $9,000,000 for instructional enhancements to be used primarily for recruitment and retention of new faculty and programs. This is particularly interesting because the University of Texas of the Permian Basin is in Odessa, but the performing arts center is in Midland.
RUNNING TOTAL: $24,700,000
* Through the Department of Criminal Justice, there will be a $240,000 increase in funding for the mental health deputy program for Ector and Midland Counties, bringing the total to $560,000 for the biennium, designed to promote the diversion of mentally ill individuals from incarceration and facilitate assessments for appropriate treatment.
RUNNING TOTAL: $24,940,000