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MINUTES

 

SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

10:00 a.m.

Capitol Extension, Room E1.036

 

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Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rule 11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance was held on Wednesday, January 7, 2009, in the Capitol Extension, Room E1.036, at Austin, Texas.

 

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MEMBERS PRESENT:

 

MEMBERS ABSENT:

Senator Steve Ogden

Senator Kip Averitt

Senator Robert Duncan

Senator Kevin Eltife

Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

Senator Jane Nelson

Senator Florence Shapiro

Senator Royce West

Senator Tommy Williams

 

Senator Judith Zaffirini

Senator Bob Deuell

Senator Troy Fraser

Senator Chris Harris

Senator Juan Hinojosa

Senator John Whitmire

 

*****

 

The chair called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.  The following business was transacted: 

 

Senator Ogden made opening remarks to the Committee, and announced that the Committee would accept Committee member letters to be included in any of the reports before 5:00 p.m.

 

Senator Ogden recognized Senator Williams to lay out the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Property Appraisal and Revenue Caps interim report, and a joint interim charge report with the Senate Education Committee. 

 

The roll was called, and a quorum was established.

 

Senator Williams moved to roll both reports into one interim charge report; without objection, it was so ordered.  Senator Williams moved that the amended Senate Finance Subcommittee on Property Appraisal and Revenue Caps interim report be accepted; without objection, it was so ordered.

 

Senator Ogden recognized Senator Averitt to lay out the Senate Finance Subcommittee on General Government Issues interim report.  Senator Averitt moved to waive Senate Finance Committee Rule #9, and to adopt the Senate Finance Subcommittee on General Government Issues interim report; without objection, it was so ordered.

 

Senator West assumed the chair. 

 

Senator West recognized Senator Ogden to lay out the Senate Finance Committee interim report.

Senator Ogden moved to adopt the interim report; without objection, it was so ordered.

 

Senator Lucio, Jr. assumed the chair. 

 

Senator Lucio recognized Senator Ogden to lay out the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education interim report. 

 

Senator Williams moved to have his comments before the Committee regarding the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education interim report reduced to writing and placed in the committee minutes; without objection, it was so ordered.  See attached transcript produced by Texas Senate Staff Services.

 

Senator Ogden moved to waive Senate Finance Committee Rule #9, and to adopt the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education interim report; without objection, it was so ordered.

 

Senator Ogden resumed the chair.

 

Senator Fraser, Senator Harris, Senator Hinojosa, and Senator Zaffirini requested unanimous consent to be shown voting for all of the interim reports laid before the Committee; without objection, it was so ordered.  Senator Deuell requested unanimous consent to be shown voting for the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Property Appraisal and Revenue Caps interim report, and the Senate Finance Committee interim report; without objection, it was so ordered.  Senator Whitmire requested unanimous consent to be shown voting for the Senate Finance Subcommittee on General Government Issues interim report, and the Senate Finance Committee interim report; without objection, it was so ordered.

 

There being no further business, at 12:51 p.m. Senator Ogden moved that the Committee be adjourned. Without objection, it was so ordered. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_____________________________

Senator Steve Ogden, Chair

 

 

_____________________________

Amy Jeter, Clerk

 

 

 


TEXAS SENATE STAFF SERVICES

RM:jcw/328IFI010709CD1/010809

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

EXCERPT: SENATOR WILLIAMS' COMMENTS ON THE

SENATE FINANCE HIGHER EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE

INTERIM REPORT -- TUITION DEREGULATION

JANUARY 7, 2009

COMPACT DISC 1

 

1

 

(Senator Ogden in the Chair)

 

          CHAIRMAN                   :         Under tuition deregulation, direct the Higher Education Coordinating Board to collect all information pertinent to determine if higher tuition is limiting access to higher education. Senator Williams, did you wanna add your comments to that?

          WILLIAMS                    :         Yes, Sir, I, I would. First of all, I'd like for my comments to be in writing, if, if that's possible--

          CHAIRMAN                   :         Yes, Sir, an--

          WILLIAMS                    :         --for the record--

          CHAIRMAN                   :         --and, my only request--

          WILLIAMS                    :         --and--

          CHAIRMAN                   :         --is get 'em in by 5:00 o'clock.

          WILLIAMS                    :         --in the Journal, or, or in your

minutes. I'd like to have 'em in writing, have my comments here before the Committee, reduced to writing, and, and placed as--in the minutes.

          CHAIRMAN                   :         On--

          WILLIAMS                    :         That's what I'm askin'.

          CHAIRMAN                   :         --on this issue, or--

          WILLIAMS                    :         On this particular--

          CHAIRMAN                   :         --the whole Committee?

          WILLIAMS                    :         --issue.

          CHAIRMAN                   :         Okay. Is there any objections to that?

          LUCIO                           :         Any objection? Hearing none, (gavel)

so--

          WILLIAMS                    :         (No)--

          LUCIO                           :         --ordered.

          WILLIAMS          :         --M--Mr. Chairman, this is an extensive report. My staff only received this late yesterday afternoon, and we have had inadequate time to really evaluate the merits of the recommendations that are made in this report, some of which I strenuously object to, and question the findings that we have in this report. And, in particular, on Page 41, it would appear to me that all of the testimony about tuition deregulation came from the universities. So, this is great. Let's go ask the people who are gettin' the money from tuition deregulation, do you see a problem with this? And, they said, no, we don't see a problem. Tha-This is, this is absurd on the face of it. And so, I don't know if there's something else that was used in making this, reaching the conclusions that are in this report, but we don't have, I don't see where there was ever any testimony from students, or families, or the people that I hear from in my district everyday who are moaning about the very significant burdens that we've placed on families, middle-class families, with this tuition deregulation. And so, I just, you know, out of deference to you, and to the Committee, and


TEXAS SENATE STAFF SERVICES

RM:jcw/328IFI010709CD1/010809

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

EXCERPT: SENATOR WILLIAMS' COMMENTS ON THE

SENATE FINANCE HIGHER EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE

INTERIM REPORT -- TUITION DEREGULATION

JANUARY 7,2009

COMPACT DISC 1

 

2

 

the work that we've got to get done, I'm gonna go ahead and submit my objections in writing, also. But, and, and, not hold up this report, but we, I just want it for the record. We haven't had time to evaluate this, and, you know, I just, I can't believe that the Committee would conclude such a thing.

                                                :         (Inaudible, background conversation)

          LUCIO                           :         Any comments, Members? Uh--

          CHAIRMAN                   :         --Well--

          LUCIO                           :         --I'm sorry.

          CHAIRMAN                   :         --I apologize for not havin' the time to

review it. It is a problem. Recommendation 1, looked at narrowly, is not bad.  I mean, there's nothing wrong with the Higher Education Coordinating Board to collect all information pertinent, and it doesn't change the public policy debate one way or another, with respect to whether we need to roll back tuition or not. So, in a broader sense, I understand your concern, but in a narrower sense, I don't think Recommendation 1 is, is, is harmful.

          WILLIAMS                    :         Well, I, I understand what you're saying about the Recommendation. I just have a feeling that I'm gonna get the findings of this interim Committee thrown up in my face later during the Session. And, I don't know--

                                                :         (Inaudible, background conversation)

          WILLIAMS                    :         --if this is what the Committee found, or (if) there, there really isn't a chance for us to question her about it, or to have considered the report, and had a chance to follow–up with the appropriate people. And so, you know, I, like I said, I see the recommendations, and I, I understand the press of time. And, so, I'm gonna sit quietly now.

          CHAIRMAN                   :         Recommendation 2, formalize (sic) the

relationship between the amount of funding provided by the state and the amount of tuition and fees charged by an institution. I don't think that one is controversial, but it is a problem, that there is no relationship, that I know of, between what we send the universities and what they're charging because of, they charge whatever they wanna charge. And there needs to be, in fact, what I've said to the universities myself is, y'all need to come down there and, if you want more money, explain to me how that's gonna affect tuition and fees. And if there is no relationship between your request for more money and the cost of goin' to school, I'm not for helpin' ya (sic).

                                                :         (Well.)

          LUCIO                           :         Senator Williams.

                                                :         (Inaudible, overlapping conversation)

          WILLIAMS                    :         Ha--I, you've said that many times, and I appreciate your response to it. And, I, I think that we have had one or two schools who have come and explained the relationship and have said, if we get this much money, this is how much--


TEXAS SENATE STAFF SERVICES

RM:jcw/328IFI010709CD1/010809

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

EXCERPT: SENATOR WILLIAMS' COMMENTS ON THE

SENATE FINANCE HIGHER EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE

INTERIM REPORT -- TUITION DEREGULATION

JANUARY 7, 2009

COMPACT DISC 1

 

3

 

                                                :         (Inaudible, background conversation)

          WILLIAMS                    :         --we'll have to increase tuition, and if we get this much, here's how much (it'll) have to go up. That hasn't been the universities who've most egregiously abused this privilege that we gave 'em, by the way, but it has been a relationship that some of the schools have laid out.

 

END OF EXCERPT