Earlier today, the office of Governor Greg Abbott issued a press release detailing his proposal to eliminate the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF).
Abbott’s plan would use half of the ETF’s unexpended balances to establish the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI). The other half would go to the Texas Enterprise Fund.
According to Abbott, the purpose of the new program is to provide matching funds to state universities in order to help them recruit more researchers and faculty.
Abbott has voiced his displeasure with corporate welfare schemes like the ETF before. Initially created in 2005 for the purpose of stimulating economic development and job creation by assisting startups, the ETF has shown a poor record in that regard, with firms receiving subsidies reporting fewer jobs year to year despite the state’s booming economic growth. In addition to outright losses attributable to “bad debts,” and an exorbitant cost of taxpayer dollars per job actually created, the ETF’s track record has made several compelling cases for its own elimination.
Initially, under Abbott’s proposal, the ETF’s portfolio would be transferred to the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, which is chaired by Comptroller Hegar. The ETF’s unexpended balance would be split; 50% would be allocated to the Higher Education Coordinating Board in order to fund the GURI, and the remaining 50% allocated to the Texas Enterprise Fund.
The plan must go to the legislature for approval.