HOUSTON – Struggling with debilitating budget cuts and devastating droughts and wildfires, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced Wednesday it is seeking official corporate partners, allowing banks, hotels or other large businesses to use the agency’s well-known logo and brand in exchange for cold, hard cash.
While other state park agencies have dabbled with similar ideas or struck corporate sponsorship deals for specific projects, industry officials believe this could be the first time a department that oversees a state’s natural resources actively seeks contract-based partnerships.
It is, as they say, a sign of the times.
“Every political entity … is experiencing some difficult budget times and they’re needing to come up with different approaches to maintain the services, and the state parks are no different,” said Phil McKnelly, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors.
Tax workers disciplined
PORTLAND – Oregon officials have taken action against four Revenue Department workers who failed to catch a fraudulent tax return that resulted in a $2.1 million refund.
Two employees have been reassigned to jobs in which they will no longer have the authority to approve cash refunds. Two others received disciplinary action, but can stay in their current positions.
The personnel moves followed an internal investigation into a bogus return submitted via Turbo Tax by 25-year-old Krystle Reyes of Salem.
Reyes received the refund on a debit card and spent about $150,000 before twice reporting the card lost or stolen. At that point the ruse was discovered. The state has recovered about $1.9 million of the money.