As you may recall, when H.B. 1 (the State Budget Bill) passed the House it included a holdback of over $1 million in the Animal Friendly License Plate Account to help “balance the Budget.” Although the Animal Friendly Account is a designated account and cannot be used for anything except spay/neuter programs, the money in that Account can be held indefinitely to help “balance the Budget” and that is what was passed by the House. Instead of allocating all the money in the Account, which is estimated to exceed $1.6 million, H.B. 1 as passed by the House, allocates only about $450,000 and holds the balance in the Account to help “balance the Budget.” The purchasers of Animal Friendly License Plates did not buy them to help balance the Budget, but instead, to help programs finance low and no cost spay/neuter surgeries.
When H.B. 1 was sent to the Senate, the Senate Finance Committee amended the Bill through a committee substitute (C.S.H.B. 1) which fully appropriates all funds currently in the Specialty License Plate Accounts. This includes the Animal Friendly License Plate Account. Thus, if the Senate C.S.H.B. 1 stays intact (pardon the pun) the Animal Friendly Account will have around $1.6 million to be used to award as grants for low and no cost spay/neuter programs throughout Texas.
The Senate approved C.S.H.B. 1, keeping the Specialty License Plate Account fully funded. Since the Senate version of H.B.1 is different from the House version, the final version will be worked out in Conference Committee. Both the House and the Senate will have five members on this Conference Committee. This Conference Committee will ultimately decide which version of the State Budget to adopt. The final version will go to Governor Perry’s desk to be signed into law.
What you can do now to help ensure the funds are fully allocated in the final State Budget:
Please contact the Senate and the House members of the Conference Committee and ask them to adopt the Senate version of the State Budget as it applies to the Animal Friendly License Plate Account. The Senate version fully appropriates the funds for the Specialty License Plate Accounts. As always, please be courteous to the legislators and their staff.
The license plates were sold with the representation that the money would be used for spay/neuter and not be held in an account to balance the State Budget.
Spay/neuter funds are needed now since postponement would only allow more and more unwanted puppies and kittens to be born. A dollar spent now is much more effective in reducing pet overpopulation than a dollar spent two, three or four years from now.
Not spending the money as promised is tantamount to consumer fraud. It is both unfair and unethical to misrepresent the way these funds are appropriated. If this were done by a private company they would be fined by the Texas Attorney General.
The Budget deficit is estimated at over $25 billion and $1 million is not going to make a difference in the Budget but can make a huge difference in the number of dogs and cats lives that will be saved.
When it becomes known what is happening to the money in the Account people will quit buying Animal Friendly Plates and one of the State’s most popular and well supported specialty license plate programs will be ruined.
When you spay and neuter your pets, YOU help decrease the number of pets euthanized every day across Texas and throughout the USA! There are low-cost spay/neuter resources available too! Check our Resources tab above to learn more.