Our State Parks, Lies & The Gov. Perry’s Office

Posted in Around The State, Election 2006 at 8:53 am by wcnews

Via Vince over at Capitol Annex we learn about the latest twist in the state parks scandal out of the governor’s office, this from the Startlegram, Perry’s office brought up sale of park.

A controversial proposal to sell 400 acres of Tarrant County parkland to the highest bidder enjoyed more behind-the-scenes support from Gov. Rick Perry’s office than previously reported, according to additional documents obtained by the Star-Telegram.

Attorneys from the governor’s office floated the idea with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in late spring, according to the correspondence. Similar documents released last month by the Texas General Land Office also show that Perry’s office contacted them with the controversial proposal.

So Gov. Perry, or his office, lied about his/their involvement in this state-owned land deal. No surprise there. But what’s really going is detailed at the end of this article:

Perry and Texas lawmakers already face mounting criticism over financial shortfalls in the parks department, an agency that in recent years has reduced operations, ordered layoffs, and contended with inoperable or deteriorating equipment.

Under Perry’s tenure, state spending on parks has gone down while state spending overall has gone up. Perry has also signed off on budgets that redirected tens of millions of dollars away from the parks department to other state agencies.

The parks department bought the 400 acres at Eagle Mountain Lake in 1980 but never developed it, with agency officials blaming pervasive shortfalls and other factors. In late December, after the state land office declared it an unused state resource, Perry’s office authorized the sale of the property.

Let’s make sure we have this straight. Gov. Perry and his Republican friends in the legislature don’t adequately fund the state parks, no actually takes money away from state parks. Some of that money would have been used to develop this property into a state park. But without that money and the development the governor’s office is able to call it an unused state resource and therefore put it up for sale to Gov. Perry’s developer and Oil & Gas buddies. Hmm…where have we heard this before? Vouchers and public school finance, and HHS privatization. Exactly, that’s what Republicans in Texas do. Intentionally defund government in order to privatize it and give your tax money, in this case your land, to their corporate cronies. By the way, the decision on the sale of this land has been put off until after the election, so much for Gov. Perry making tough decisions. So if we want to stop this we will need a new governor. Only one of the 5 candidates has been leading on this issue and it’s Chris Bell. He’s also been endorsed by the Texas League of Conservation Voters, if you hunt and fish this is a major issue. You can read his plan for Texas state parks here.

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