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The bill would amend the Agriculture Code, regarding pesticide and herbicide regulation. The bill would create the Pesticide Education and Disposal Fund in the state treasury outside of the General Revenue Fund. The fund would consist of revenue from annual transfers of pesticide registration fees collected under Section 76.044 in amounts, not to exceed $400,000,as determined by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to be necessary to administer pesticide waste and container collection activities. Interest earnings from money in the fund would be deposited to the credit of the fund. The fund would be administered by TDA and could be appropriated only for pesticide waste and container collection activities. TDA would coordinate pesticide disposal efforts with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, including contracting for disposal services. This legislation would do one or more of the following: create or recreate a dedicated account in the General Revenue Fund,create or recreate a special or trust fund either with or outside of the Treasury, or create a dedicated revenue source. The fund,account, or revenue dedication included in this bill would be subject to funds consolidation review by the current Legislature. The bill would take effect September 1, 2015.
Revenue Gains, Losses and Offsetting Gains: TDA indicates that should the agency transfer up to $400,000 of the pesticide product registration fees from General Revenue to the new fund for an education and disposal program, the transfer may result in the agency raising fees to cover funding a portion of its current duties for pesticide regulation. Accordingly, in this analysis it is assumed the cost of transferring General Revenue would be offset by an increase in registration fees. Costs for the pesticide education and disposal program are assumed to be equal to the amount transferred each fiscal year. Amounts in this analysis assume the statutory maximum would be transferred. Out of this amount, both TDA and the AgriLife Extension Service are expected to have minimal administrative costs to implement bill provisions.
HB 2548, if passed, would modify the Agriculture Code (Subchapter A, Chapter 76) by adding three new sections to code creating a pesticide disposal fund. This fund would come from the state treasury and would be outside of general revenue. The purpose of the fund would be to collect pesticide containers and waste. (Section 76.009) The activities performed under this fund are not to exceed $400,000 in cost. (Section 76.044) The department will dispose of pesticide waste in coordination with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service which are licensed to dispose of hazardous waste as defined in the Health and Safety Code. (Section 79.132)
HB 2548 is, in part, a response to problematic Federal regulations which the state if forced to comply with. Fulfilling this responsibility is a legitimate function for the state government to perform. We do not oppose this component of the bill.
Our objection relates to the funding mechanism which would be put in place. We oppose the creation of special funds outside of general revenue because of how these funds are treated in state accounting.
We recognize the need for such a pesticide disposal program and would support passage of the bill if amended to fund it through the normal appropriations process.