Senator Kirk Watson released the following statement today regarding Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ comments on ending the practice of diverting dedicated money from its intended purposes and using it to certify the budget:
Budget honesty and transparency are among the most important issues facing Texas today. Ending the diversion of dedicated money has ranked among my highest priorities since I was elected to the Senate, and I have repeatedly filed bills and amendments to end this practice. I was encouraged by the progress we made last year in implementing my Honesty Agenda, but clearly more needs to be done to make the state open and honest about its finances.
I’m very encouraged by the Speaker’s comments today on the vital issue of ending the diversion of dedicated funds – taxes or fees that Texans pay for specific purposes such as parks, hospitals, and utility bill relief, but that instead are used to certify the budget. We need to start working on these reforms right now, especially given the budget uncertainties we know we will face next year.
And I will work with the Speaker and any other public official in Texas to truly reform the system and ensure taxpayers’ money is used for its intended purpose.