P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2003
AUSTIN -- Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, today offered up the first major cut to the state budget by proposing to abolish the Texas Department of Economic Development, along with its nine-member Board, and shift the responsibility of promoting the State of Texas to the Office of the Governor.
The proposal, which would save Texas taxpayers an estimated $2.8 million over the biennium, was adopted unanimously by the Sunset Advisory Commission, which Senator Nelson chairs. The cost-cutting decision comes on Day 2 of the legislative session.
"Some very tough choices are going to have to be made this session, and it is time for us to start putting our money where our mouth is. This agency performs functions that overlap with other agencies, especially in promoting tourism, so it makes sense for us to consolidate. We are going to have to look at every function of state government for this kind of duplication of effort," Senator Nelson said. "Texas is still hungry for economic development. We need growth now more than ever. Ultimately, our ability to grow is going to lead us out of our current economic situation. It is possible, though, for an agency to grow so big that its efficiency is diminished. Streamlining our economic development efforts this way will help attract new businesses, jobs, tourists and families to Texas."
The Texas Economic Development Department has a $32 million annual budget and 127 employees. The Sunset Advisory Commission's recommendation will now go to the Texas Legislature for further discussion.