Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#TXLEGE set to pass $3 BILLION Higher Ed Slush Fund


"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

"Tuition Revenue Bonds" are a boondoggle we addressed during last year's Attorney General race.  They create a 'university construction' fund that is ultimately backed by Texas taxpayers.  Naturally, our conservative Texas Legislature would reject such foolishness out of hand...right?!?

Sadly, that isn't the case.

HB 100 (Zerwas) would authorize $3 billion in TRB's.  It passed the Texas House overwhelmingly in early April.  Yesterday, the Texas Senate approved the measure 26-5.

Another insidious aspect of TRB's is that they are political pork for legislators.  Many of the project this time are in the district of Straus lieutenants.  As a source explained in March:
House Bill 100 is a doozy. It's basically earmarked pork at your expense. the way the state does higher ed buildings is via "tuition revenue bonds," where the state borrows money pledged against tuition with the idea that the debt service would be paid in future appropriations bills.... It's basically a bill full of congressional-style earmarks The specific projects are listed in the bill. The Legislature stripped the Coordinating Board of the ability to prioritize.
On the bright side, at least Charles Schwertner raised a stink over tuition deregulation during yesterday's debate.  Higher Ed. committee chairman Kel Seliger pledged to study the issue during the interim.  We'll see if Seliger keeps his word.

Par for the course for this session.

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The Trib has more here.

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Read the full bill below:

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