Bipartisan Texas Group Vows To End Budget Diversions

AUSTIN (January 31, 2013)--A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers is promising to end the diversion of dedicated funds from their intended purposes.

For more than a decade, the Legislature has diverted funds from state parks, trauma care and roads to balance the state budget, but Thursday, two Republicans and two Democrats said they had introduced bills to stop the practice that Austin Sen. Kirk Watson says has created an honesty deficit.

Republican Sen. Craig Estes said the Parks and Wildlife Department has been hit especially hard.

The Legislature collected $250 million in funds that were supposed to be spent on parks, but lawmakers in 2011 used about $200 million of that to balance the budget in other areas.

Estes and Watson said lawmakers need time to correct the $5 billion habit.

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