Friday, May 29, 2009

General Appropriations Bill for State Budget on its way to Governor

With three days left in the legislative session, the House and Senate are feverishly working to complete their work. Senate Bill 1, the General Appropriations Act, the state’s operating budget, is now on its way to Governor Perry’s desk to be signed into law. The approved appropriations for the state’s 2010-11 budget totaled $182.3 billion.

Included in Senate Bill 1 is $882 million for TDA, which includes new or increased funding for TDA’s consumer protection responsibilities, the Certified Retirement Community Program, Organic Certification and Grain Warehouse Programs. SB 1 includes continued funding for several programs such as Boll Weevil Eradication, Food and Fibers Research Grant Program, child and adult nutrition programs, road station inspections, feral hog abatement and Zebra Chip research.

The SB 1 funding will enhance TDA’s consumer protection initiatives, as well as ensure Texas has the resources in place to help protect our agricultural producers and industry from inevitable disease and disaster they are forced to contend with each and every year. It will also assist in our continuing efforts to make sure Texas children understand the importance of the 3E's of Healthy Living: Education, Exercise and Eating Right.

The bill appropriates funding to other state agencies that will greatly benefit Texas agricultural producers. The Texas Animal Health Commission will receive funding for the Fever Tick Initiative to protect Texas cattle. Texas AgriLife Extension’s Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory has been appropriated additional funding, and the Texas Forest Service’s Wildfire Protection Plan was funded.

I want to extend my personal thanks to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts for their hard work and leadership in crafting the budget for our state. My sincere appreciation also goes out to Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus for their dedication to making sure the priorities of the Texas Department of Agriculture and Texans were considered. These state leaders always had a listening ear when we worked with them and their dedicated staff to ensure Texas agriculture has the resouces it needs to tackle the next two years.

1 comment:

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