AUSTIN – Records obtained via the Texas Public Information Act reveal that in the first 19 days following the April 3 raid of the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, the state spent close to $7.5 million. The Austin American-Statesman on May 16 reported a breakdown of the expenditures, unaudited figures obtained from the governor’s office.
Here are rounded estimates of those unaudited costs: Department of Family and Protective Services: $2.2 million, Health & Human Services Commission: $1 million, Department of Public Safety: $970,000, Department of State Health Services: $930,000, Other state agencies: $192,000, Volunteer groups: $60,000, Vendors: $1.2 million, and city/county governments: $944,000.
Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, authorized state agencies to spend money from their 2009 budgets to fund the YFZ operation.
State agencies entered the polygamist sect’s 1,700-acre compound on April 3 and removed more than 400 children who resided with their parents there.
On May 19, state district courts in San Angelo will begin to conduct hearings for YFZ families who wish to retrieve their children from foster care.
In other news, a ranch woman first thought to be an under-aged mother has since been identified as 22 years old. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy in a San Marcos hospital in late April.
Wilson sounds NASDAQ bell
Part of Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson’s job is to drum up business for the state.
Wilson and a delegation of Texas companies, chambers of commerce and economic development groups recently traveled to New York, N.Y., to do just that.
And, on May 14, Wilson was given the honor of presiding over the closing bell ceremony of the NASDAQ stock market.
There are more than 160 Texas-based companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange with a total market value of nearly $120 billion, Wilson’s office stated.
“Over the past several years, Texas has received numerous accolades as the top state in the nation to do business,” Wilson said. “As the rest of the U.S. experiences an economic slowdown, Texas’ economy continues to outpace the rest of the nation.”
Fewer Texans in ranks of jobless
On May 16, the Texas Workforce Commission reported the April statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent, down from 4.3 percent in March and 4.4 percent in April 2007. The 4.1 percent rate in Texas remains far below the U.S. unemployment rate of 5 percent.
Another statistic: Texas’ seasonally adjusted on agricultural employment grew by 15,400 jobs in April.
“Texas continues to outpace national trends with its record low unemployment rate,” said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken. “Texas employers now have added 262,000 jobs in the past 12 months.”
Memorial honors fallen officers
Twenty-five Texas law officers lost their lives on duty during the past two years. All were honored May 13 in a memorial service at the DPS academy in Austin.
The officers were employees of many entities, including the Department of Public Safety, Parks & Wildlife, county sheriffs’ departments, city police and port police.
Power company investigated
The Texas Public Utility Commission announced May 14 it has launched an investigation against the Houston-based electric provider National Power Co.
Between May 12 and May 14 the agency said it had received nearly 200 complaints from customers who were notified about price hikes in their fixed-rate plans.
Storms hit state capital too
On May 15, swaths of high winds, heavy rains and hail hit Texas, including Austin.
About 40,000 capital city residences lost power and storm-felled trees and debris littered the Capitol grounds.
Attorney General Greg Abbott warned residents to exercise caution when seeking contractors to help with storm related damages.