TACT First Alert: 4/21/15

Legislative Session on Its Descent
The 84th Texas Legislature is past its midpoint, but still too early to measure.  While there seems to be plenty of money to spend wisely, the House and Senate budgets are far apart in style if not substance.  TRS-Care for retirees has been plugged, but the markers for tax reductions are becoming lines in the sand – leading some to predict a special session if only to adopt a budget.
TACT issues are facing a mixed outcome, which means we are reaching beyond our comfort zone.  Unfortunately, it is not looking good for maintaining the statutory ban on guns on campus. We’ve said this before at the midpoint in the past four sessions, and something has always emerged.  Higher Ed funding will increase, though never enough.  Tuition revenue bonds will repair and replace some of the physical plant and TEXAS Grant scholarships will be increased.
An article in today’s Austin American-Statesman offers three reasons for hope as embodied in the sole finalist for UT-Austin’s next President – Gregory L. Fenves.  First, he is the Provost, giving UT-Austin an academician not a politician.  Second, he lists the largest threat to the university as being the faculty salaries that are lagging behind peer institutions. Third, he mentions quality, particularly as it affects graduate education and its funding needs.  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.