For Immediate Release Thursday, March 3, 2011:
For More Information: Ken Kramer 512-476-6962 (office), 512-626-4204 (cell)
Funding for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Statement of Ken Kramer, Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club, on the Issue of Funding for Texas
Parks & Wildlife Department
Excerpt of Remarks to the Texas Senate Finance Committee – 3/3/2011
“The Sierra Club understands that the appropriations for Texas Parks & Wildlife
Department, like those for every other state agency, will
be reduced during tough economic times.
That’s a given, but the way in which those cuts are made and the level of the cuts will make a huge difference in the ability of Parks & Wildlife
to meet the recreational and conservation needs of Texans.
The Sierra Club urges the Texas Legislature to adopt equitable
and reasonable budget cuts for Parks & Wildlife that will position the agency and its parks and other programs for recovery when the economy improves.
The Sierra Club has made a number of recommendations for
funding levels and funding sources that will allow Parks & Wildlife
to maintain some momentum in meeting the growing public demand
for outdoor recreation in Texas, momentum that has only been
gained in the past four years after the Legislature responded
to the public and began increasing parks funding in 2007
to rebuild a badly deteriorating state parks system.
In the case of Parks & Wildlife there are available funding
sources – including bonds already approved by the voters and voluntary contributions to parks and wildlife programs – to
help the agency weather the current state financial situation without
doing damage to the Legislature’s legitimate efforts to balance
the budget and meet other important needs of the state.
Providing sufficient funds to Parks & Wildlife to maintain
state parks and provide outdoor recreation services for Texans
will maintain and create jobs in both the public and private sector, be beneficial to the health and education of all Texans, be an economic driver for local areas around the state, attract people to vacation and recreate in Texas, and enhance the revenue of the state.
We need to avoid the temptation to be penny-wise in parks
spending and pound-foolish in ignoring the negative impacts
of drastically reduced parks spending on both local economies
and the state economy.”