Proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget

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Proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget

Postby seamusTX » Mon May 04, 2009 3:17 pm

I just ran across the proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget:

(Be warned: This is an 8-MB file.)

Some interesting points:

The budget for the Concealed Handgun Licensing Division is broken out (on page 10)

Actual 2007 ...... $5,555,039
Estimated 2008 .. 5,467,950
Budgeted 2009 ... 4,518,796
Requested 2010 .. 4,518,796
Requested 2011 .. 4,518,796

That's right: with an increase in applications of 30% or so, the budget request is for the same amount of money as the current fiscal year.

For perspective, the entire DPS budget request for 2010 is about $114 million, so CHL is about 4% of the whole.

In 2008 (the last full year for which data is available) DPS issued 73,090 licenses and also processed fewer than 500 that were denied. At an estimated $100 per application, that comes out to more than $7 million in revenue.

In other words, CHL fees are bringing in about $4.5 million more than DPS spends processing them.

Unless I'm missing some piece of information, something is rotten in Austin.

- Jim
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Re: Proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget

Postby Oldgringo » Mon May 04, 2009 4:09 pm

Same situation with TPW. TPW brings in a boatload of money (pun intended); however, it goes into the General Fund where a pittance is given back to TPW. :grumble

Yes, something is rotten in Denmark, er, ...uh, I mean Austin.
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Re: Proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget

Postby Rockrz » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:08 pm

seamusTX wrote:Unless I'm missing some piece of information, something is rotten in Austin.

Like many business enterprises...they are simply taking
money made in one area and spending it elsewhere

Did they ever promise, or was there ever a law passed,
that says they have to keep funds in their respective departments?

Government has been doing this all along,
so this is normal business practices for them.
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Re: Proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget

Postby ELB » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:35 pm

Some thoughts

Budgeteers, in an attempt to meet some internal goal, may have very well told department heads to flatline their out year budget requests, regardless of actual requirements. I have seen this done at the federal level.

There may be other restrictions on the DPS as whole, or the CHL division in particular, that make it impossible for the department manager to request the actual required amount. For example, to meet some other budgetary goal, they may be limited on the number of full-time employees and contractors they may higher. This may mean they would not be able to spend more than $4.5M (which I am sure is largely personnel pay) because they would not be allowed to higher the extra people.

I certainly was under the impression that CHL fees were supposed to be no higher than what it takes to process an application. This implies that of course the fees collected would go to fund the work -- or at least fund the next year's CHL budget. Mr. Cotton probably knows the background skinny on this.

Governments generally hate restrictions on funds. Whenever a citizen initiative (in states like California) is passed to fence in money, there is much gnashing of government teeth. And many clever ways are invented to subvert this in the name of flexibility. Laws written to implement the initiatives, or other "will of the people" efforts are of course written by the same legislators who want to spend that money for their own projects, so "flexibility" gets written in and added to over time.

"Flexibility" only works at the top levels tho -- legislators have no problem whatsoever constructing very big fences around whatever pot of money they throw at their own interests. Woe be to the lower level government manager who mixes funds, even if in fact it is a good idea and would save the government money over all.
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Re: Proposed 2010-2011 DPS budget

Postby seamusTX » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:35 am

ELB wrote:I certainly was under the impression that CHL fees were supposed to be no higher than what it takes to process an application.
The basic $140 application fee and the $25 fee for change of address or modification are built into the statute (now 15 years old).

Only the renewal fee is flexible and supposed to represent the cost of processing a renewal [GC §411.186(b)].

BTW, IMHO, this state of affairs illustrates how little political voice CHL holders have in Austin.

The length of processing applications and renewals has been outside the statutory limits for over a year. The number of applications has increased, and there is no sign that it will return to earlier levels. Even if 400,000 people have a CHL by now, there are still about 15 million to go. ;-) The budget should have been increased, and it was not.

We certainly have friends in Austin, including a hard-worked lobbyist and the Governor. All the CHL-related bills that came up for a vote passed; and probably all that died in committee would have, except perhaps for the parking-lot bill.

However, the budget shows that the concerns of CHL holders suffer the same fate as all that do not have an unrelenting advocate with the political capital to produce results.

- Jim
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