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TPWD News Release — Aug. 22, 2013

Texas Parks and Wildlife 2014 Budget Reflects Legislative Support

Increased Funding Will Keep Parks Open, Fund Wildlife and Fisheries Work

AUSTIN – Funding to keep Texas State Parks open and provide grants for city and county parks, millions to aid the declining bobwhite quail and its grassland habitat, fisheries funding that benefits water resources, and dollars for conservation law enforcement are among the highlights of the 2014 budget approved today by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

p>“Barring any catastrophic event like a hurricane, extreme drought or a wildfire, the state budget adopted by lawmakers means that no state parks will close due to lack of funding in the next two years,” said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “Further, the legislature also funded many of the critical requests for the fisheries and wildlife side of our business. We appreciate very much this support from state elected leaders for parks and conservation.”

The department’s fiscal year 2014 operating and capital budget totals about $380 million, including about $272 million for salaries, related benefits and operating expenses, about $30 million for grants and close to $75 million for capital items such as construction and computers.

The 2014 budget is an increase from the 2013 budget of $357 million, but still below the $423 million for 2011. The state budget bill also increased TPWD’s employee count by 103 full time equivalent (FTE) positions, to a total FTE cap of 3,109 employee positions for 2014.

The budget reflects overall funding approved by legislators in the state General Appropriations Act for the 2014-2015 biennium, which authorized additional funding requested by the agency in six exceptional items. That included, in two-year totals:

Lawmakers also provided other funding for the department, including (in biennial totals):

During the session, legislators also approved supplemental funding for TPWD using 2013 dollars. This includes $5 million for state park capital repairs, close to $4.9 million for Bastrop State Park wildfire recovery, and $889,000 in state park operating funding from motor vehicle registration opt-in donations approved in the previous legislative session.

Background detail on TPWD finances, including financial information for previous years, is available in links to budgets and strategic plans on the department website.


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