Today the AAS has an editorial on the stark contrast between the fundraising for the Speaker’s apartment and the financial situation surrounding our state Parks, Enjoying $1,000 toilets as our state parks system gets flushed. If you’re not aware of this, basically several corporations and lobbyists have put up the $1 million for the renovations of Speaker Craddick’s apartment. In a time when state agencies are being asked to tighten their belts and you know, healthcare costs are going through the roof, and school finance issues aren’t going away, well, it just looks bad. Here’s how the editorial concludes:
Now the parks division, like other state agencies, has been told to find ways to cut spending by another 10 percent in the next budget year. That kind of cut, a top department official said, could require closing 18 parks and losing 44 more park employees â€” at a time when, according to incumbents running for re-election to state offices, Texas is doing great economically.
The state can afford to fix the parks. A statewide sales tax on sporting goods, dedicated in 1993 by the Legislature to support state parks, generates about $105 million a year. But since then, state lawmakers have capped the transfer to the parks at about $32 million, and actually appropriated from the tax even less.
Craddick, of course, is not solely responsible for the deterioration of the parks. But the contrast between his solicitation of great private and corporate wealth to equip his Capitol apartment while the public’s parks, used by thousands of people a year, are allowed to fall apart, says a lot about just who the state leadership cares about first, and most.
Here’s a good question for Speaker Craddick. If Speaker Craddick has all this goodwill with corporations and lobbyists why doesn’t he use that to get them to donate the money needed to fix our state parks?