Thursday, May 16, 2013

Budget writers delete fusion-center funding from state budget

Good news: State budget writers eliminated funding for the Department of Public Safety's "fusion center," reported Brenda Bell at the Austin Statesman ("Budget conferees vote not to fund fusion center," May 14), which would make Texas the first state to close one. She wrote:
DPS requested close to $16 million over the next biennium to continue operating the Texas Fusion Center, where about 100 employees now work in offices located at the DPS headquarters. The House had eliminated money for the center in its version of the appropriations bill, and the conference committee that is hashing out the 2014-15 state budget concurred in that decision Monday.

A factor in that decision, according to budget documents crafted by the House, was an October 2012 report by a U.S. Senate investigative subcommittee that lambasted the fusion centers for “irrelevant, useless or inappropriate” intelligence gathering and wasteful spending on private contractors, while doing little to keep the country safer. Both the statewide fusion center and the one operated by the Austin Police Department opened toward the end of 2010, too late to be included in the Senate report.

Another issue raised in the budget documents has been the focus of much attention during this legislative session — the diversion of state money collected for one purpose to other uses. Currently the lion’s share of state funding for the DPS, $1.2 billion, comes from the highway fund.
Grits won't lose any sleep over this change which IMO won't harm public safety in the slightest. Even for folks lacking a civil libertarian streak, fusion centers deserve to be axed based on a cost benefit analysis alone.

MORE: Via PrivacySOS, "Time to shut down fusion centers altogether?"

See related Grits posts:


Robert Langham said...

Good. Cut the size of government, especially the useless, intrusive, dangerous parts. I'd be tempted to cut every single dept, expenditure and outlay 5% and make the managers manage.

solar powered security camera said...

Great ideas and information..

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Just the DPS fusion center, as I understand it

john said...

Weren't the Fusion Centers part of plan to utilize the SPLC info defining potential domestic terrorists as gun owners, Christians, ex-military, conservatives, political groups, etc.? You hear little about them, now, but I thought it was for DHS or Hussein's army or whatever. ANYHOW, IT'S TOO BE GAS TAX CAN'T GO TOWARD FIXING THE ROADS, INSTEAD OF PAYING COPS TO HUNT THEM, AND PAYING SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIONS TO GROW SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION. oTHErwise, Nevermind.

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Anonymous said...

No savings here from the fusion cut. Just spending it somewhere

Overall, the Senate measure amounts to a 7.7 percent rise over current state spending. Counting federal funds, the increase is 2.9 percent.

Anonymous said...

Fusion money is diverted to pay. State troopers would receive a 10 percent pay increase under the Senate plan.