Hefty fees, fines going uncollected in Texas

AUSTIN (AP) - Some state funded-agencies have as much as $1 billion in uncollected fees, fines and penalties for fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

That's according to a survey from the Legislative Budget Board provided to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Fees drive a significant portion of the state's almost $168 billion for 2008-09 biennium -- allowing local government to keep taxes down.

For $1 billion, the state could fund 5 of its Top 15 funded agencies, or Jerry Jones could build another football stadium in Arlington.

According to the survey:

1 of the agencies -- the Texas Ethics Commission couldn't collect a third of $1.58 million of fees and penalties it assessed in fiscal 2007.

More than 95 cents of every dollar left uncollected was lost by publicly funded colleges and universities and public safety/criminal justice institutions.

Most state agencies turn delinquent customers over to collection agencies.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office said the state has a warrant hold system that allows Texas to apply money toward debt from future payments the debtor receives from the state.

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