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Texas Senate Shifts Funding Focus from Tech to Research

If passed, proposed measures would abolish the Emerging Technology Fund, whose star had faded amid a critical audit and bankruptcies of some startups it assisted.

by Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, Austin American-Statesman / June 1, 2015
The Senate and House are making moves to end Texas' controversial Emerging Technology fund and create the Governor's University Initiative Fund within the governor's office. Flickr/M&R Glasgow

(TNS) -- The Texas Senate on Sunday approved a two-bill package that would establish a fund to recruit academic researchers, abolish a controversial startup-supporting fund and create an oversight board to review various state incentive programs.

Final approval by the House was expected later in the day for House Bill 26 by Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson, and Senate Bill 632 by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay. The measures would then go to Gov. Greg Abbott, whose signature is all but certain because the provisions include key elements of his higher education and economic policy agendas.

The measures would:

  • Create the Governor’s University Research Initiative Fund within the governor’s office, to provide matching grants to public institutions of higher learning for recruiting Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences and its sister organizations in engineering and medicine.
  • Abolish the Emerging Technology Fund, whose star had faded amid a critical audit and bankruptcies of some startups it assisted.
  • Establish a nine-member Economic Incentive Oversight Board charged with reviewing programs that award money or tax incentives at the discretion of the governor, comptroller or Agriculture Department.
  • Change the name of the Major Events Trust Fund to the Major Events Reimbursement Program, and base reimbursement amounts on the prevailing state sales tax rate.

©2015 Austin American-Statesman, Texas. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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