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RIP, Department of Rural Affairs

People say they want to shrink government, except when it happens to them.

The Texas Department of Rural Affairs, the office that helps keep rural Texas communities afloat, is scheduled to close in October, and the lawmaker who wrote the legislation in 2001 to create the department said he’s worried about the consequences.

Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, said the department was designed to make sure rural areas are treated fairly and can get access to needed grants from state and federal governments. He added that he’s worried rural Texans will suffer.

“Rural Texas is losing more and more representation,” he said.

Most of the duties of the office will be shifted to the Texas Department of Agriculture, as part of a cost-cutting strategy introduced in February by Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry said in his State of the State speech: “There should be no sacred cows in this business, and that reality is reflected in the budget that I submitted this morning. To eliminate duplication, let’s consolidate functions, like moving the Department of Rural Affairs into the Department of Agriculture.”

But if the main idea behind the consolidation is savings, Chisum said, then the effort might not be worth it. Closing the department will have only a slight effect, about $1 million a year, Chisum estimated.

That’s as may be, but as I’ve said before, these people are getting exactly what they voted for. If it turns out that’s not really what they wanted, they should consider voting differently the next time. I don’t know what else there is to say.

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One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    Most all of us in “rural” Texas are plenty happy with this. Chisum is one person bemoaning something he created.