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A story in the Texas Tribune says state lawmakers have stockpiled nearly $5 billion in more than 200 dedicated revenue funds, using the money to help balance the budget rather than for their intended purposes, according to estimates from the Texas comptroller’s office.
It’s a practice that has been criticized for years, the story said, adding that Gov. Rick Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus have called on legislators during the 2013 session to end the diversions.
More from the story:
Most of the funds are tied to fees and surcharges that Texans pay each year that are meant go toward furthering goals like helping low-income families with their electric bills or caring for stranded dolphins.
Yet lawmakers have allowed billions of dollars of that so-called dedicated revenue be collected without plans to spend the money for its intended purpose. Instead, much of the money has been used to help balance the state budget by making state coffers appear more flush.
“We told the people that the money we put in this piggy bank for this purpose,” said state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who for years has proposed legislation to end the diversions. “We collect the fee and then the budget writers take that fee and spend it on something else.”
For the entire story from the Texas Tribune, please click here.