AUSTIN – As a result of the efficiencies and cost savings under his administration, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today has directed agency staff at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to find cuts in fees administered by his office.
“I’ve been able to achieve some cost savings and managed our budget well, so just like a business, we’re passing that along to our ag producers and taxpayers by way of fee reductions,” said Commissioner Miller. “Our primary mission at the Texas Department of Agriculture is to ensure that our ag producers and the ag industry are successful and thriving. As we know, when Texas agriculture succeeds, all of Texas succeeds.”
Since taking office in January 2015, Commissioner Miller has implemented several new programs that have resulted in cost savings to the agency, including cutting unnecessary spending and bringing new businesses into compliance with state licensing requirements.
One of Commissioner Miller’s first actions in office was to cancel a costly, burdensome scheduling application for TDA inspectors, saving the state over $300,000. Now, inspectors drive 720,000 miles less and conduct 40 to 60 percent more inspections every day.
Commissioner Miller initiated “Operation Maverick” to find and register businesses with scales for commercial use that had not yet been licensed by the agency. TDA inspectors registered 6,800 new devices at a diverse list of locations, including BBQ restaurants, yogurt shops and pawn shops. “Operation Maverick” resulted in additional annual revenue of approximately $240,000 for consumer protection efforts
Cumulatively, Commissioner Miller’s efficiencies have saved the agency over $1 million.
Commissioner Miller has directed staff to identify the fee cuts as soon as possible. The fee reductions require a rule change and, as such, will include a public comment period where ag producers and industry stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide input.