Community College Controversy Continues
Hornet's nest stirred by Perry's veto of $154 million in community college funding continues to buzz
On July 27, Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, wrote to House Speaker Tom Craddick, who, as co-chair with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of the Legislative Budget Board, has the authority to put the cash back. On Aug. 1, Craddick replied by letter, saying he was already working with Perry, Dewhurst, and the House to find a solution. While noting he had supported the original appropriation, he said he realized Perry had some "legitimate concerns" when he removed the cash. A note of caution was struck when Craddick wrote that even though the sum was originally approved by both House and Senate, he could only transfer from the final budget money that is earmarked for other projects. He said that it is his "intention to act quickly so that community colleges will be able to plan accordingly."
On July 25, Dewhurst told the Senate he would "convene a working group in the next few weeks that includes Senators [Steve] Ogden, [Florence] Shapiro, [Robert] Duncan, [Judith] Zaffirini, [Juan] Hinojosa, and other interested members, along with the governor's office, the community colleges, members of the House of Representatives, and the appropriate state agencies, so we can work together toward a solution by the end of this year."
Sen. Zaffirini, D-Laredo -- who penned one of the angry editorials -- isn't waiting on Dewhurst. She announced earlier this month that she will convene a hearing of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee to hear invited and public testimony on the issue. The subcommittee will meet at 10am Tuesday, Aug. 14, in the Senate Finance Committee Room, E-1.036 in the Capitol Extension.