With just days left in the third special session, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new priority for lawmakers to tackle: “legislation to improve higher education in Texas.”
While the topic may sound broad, the practical implication is legislation appropriating federal funds to Texas universities.
Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked Abbott to add tuition revenue bonds (TRBs) to the special session call.
TRBs are one of two types of bonds used to finance expansion in public higher education. Revenue financing system bonds are repaid by the university, whereas TRBs are repaid by the Texas Legislature (i.e., the taxpayers).
Generally, TRBs are used to provide additional infrastructure on campuses of higher education. These bonds were first authorized in 1971 and have gradually been authorized since then with changes to how they are allocated and approved.
Abbott’s announcement came just minutes before the House gaveled in for the day, where they are set to consider House Bill 160 by Republican State Rep. Terry Wilson (Marble Falls). HB 160 would allocate $325 million, among several other appropriations, for the purpose of TRBs.