SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — Texas county commissioners say the state of Texas owes its 254 counties about $2.6 billion in for the cost of providing indigent defendants a proper trial defense.

Cary Roberts, a spokesman for the Texas Association of Counties, tells The Associated Press the figure dates back to the 2001 start of the state's indigent defense program. He said providing proper indigent defense "continues to be one of the cost drivers that continue to make it difficult on counties to balance their budgets."

The figure was highlighted by Tom Green County Precinct Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher, who mentioned the figure at a Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting. The San Angelo Standard-Times reports he told commission colleagues that the West Texas county alone is owed $18.5 billion.

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