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TACT Quarterly eBulletin

Apr/May/Jun 2003 Vol. LV No. 4

Texas Association of College Teachers ~ TACT Rally for Higher Education

President's Column
How TACT Works For You
by Dr. Larry King, TACT President

“Closing the Gaps”

The following comments were made by TACT President Larry King on the steps of the State Capitol May 9, 2003.

We are here today to spotlight a significant threat to the future of our state. During the past four years the Texas Legislature has taken significant steps to enhance our system of higher education and establish the groundwork to provide additional access to a university education for the young people of our state. We have seen record growth in enrollments around the state and a healthy increase in the number of students from minority and economically disadvantaged populations attending our universities. These are significant indicators that the Legislature's investment in higher education is truly "Closing the Gaps."

Our state will benefit greatly from better educated citizens. We will have a workforce that will attract new businesses to our state and meet the demands of a technology-based workplace. The average household income of Texans will increase. State spending on prisons and social welfare programs will decrease.

However, recently proposed cuts in higher education funding threaten to erase the gains that we have made and threaten the intellectual and economic future of the state. Less funding for higher education means fewer scholarships and grants and an increase in tuition costs and student fees. This can lead to fewer students enrolled in higher education and limit access to higher education to the childres of wealthier Texans.

We all understand that Texas is facing serious budget shortfalls, but we should not balance the state budget at the expense of out future. We should not take the easy path to solving our financial problems by abandoning our promise to "Close the Gaps." If we do, we will pay for the cuts we make in higher education today with a less qualified workforce, fewer jobs, lower income, and a lower tax-base in the near future. As an investment in the future of Texas, we are asking Legislators to continue their commitment to the young people of Texas and restore the funding that has been cut from higher education. Investing in higher education, even in tough times, is an investment in the future of Texas.

Jim Puckett and Larry King at the Capitol press conference

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