Texas Legislature Feeling the Squeeze

The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations yesterday heard from the Texas Comptroller, Legislative Budget Board and the Speaker of the House regarding their perspectives on the near-term future of state finances.

Speaker Joe Straus outlined several issues likely requiring significant cash infusions when the Legislature meets next year: school finance, the foster care system and teacher retirement health care. The Comptroller featured the revenue side, including that one-third of the state’s mining companies may go bankrupt and tax revenues have been based on a higher price of oil production than has been the case. The LBB waded through the intricacies of the Rainy Day Fund and the projected amount of surplus the Legislature will have at its disposal for a supplemental (emergency) appropriation when it convenes in January.

From the higher education perspective, these discussions are on the heels of recent political criticism of universities raising tuition to keep up with rising costs. TACT weighs in by annually publishing the AAUP comparison of Texas faculty by rank among top ten most populous states in our Fall edition of the TACT Quarterly eBulletin (which can be found by clicking here) and then by sharing said data with legislators twice each year. The upcoming issue of the TACT Quarterly eBulletin will include a “Letter from a Member” which will be submitted by a TACT Board Member and will further examine these static or falling resources against rising costs and expectations, such as the 60X30 policy of continuing to increase the number of college enrollees through the year 2030.

Don’t miss this upcoming issue. If you or a colleague wish to participate in bringing the higher education perspective to the table, please JOIN HERE or call us at 1-512-873-7404.