FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/17/2011
ZEDLER CALLS FOR FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
AUSTIN – Today, the Texas House of Representatives adopted an amendment by Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington) requiring institutions of higher education to place certain financial information online, or to place a direct link on their Internet homepage to the state's financial transparency website, Window on State Government (www.window.state.tx.us).
The Zedler Amendment was attached without opposition to Senate Bill 5 by Zaffirini, which is being sponsored in the House by Rep. Dan Branch (Dallas), Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education. Based on discussions with university officials, there should be minimal or no cost to implement this initiative.
"There has been an intense debate, discussion, and criticism of financial practices at our state's colleges and universities. To a large extent, this criticism is likely rooted in the perceived lack of transparency. Taxpayers and students should be able to know where their money is being spent," said Zedler.
Upon final passage of Senate Bill 5 in the House, it will return to the Senate where the changes made by the House of Representatives will be considered. "I appreciate the overwhelming support for this transparency measure, and anticipate that it will be in the final bill that heads to the Governor's desk," said Zedler.
In a similar vein, Speaker Joe Straus (San Antonio) and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst established the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency on May 6th. Members of the joint oversight committee include: Sens. Judith Zaffirini (Laredo), John Carona (Dallas), Robert Duncan (Lubbock), Kel Seliger (Amarillo), Rodney Ellis (Houston), Kirk Watson (Austin); and Reps. Dan Branch (Dallas), Dennis Bonnen (Angleton), Joaquin Castro (San Antonio), Eric Johnson (Dallas), Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham), and Jim Pitts (Waxahachie).
Discussing the recently formed committee, Rep. Zedler said, "The legislative leadership has decided to prioritize this investigation for a reason. I hope the committee is able to dig in and exert greater accountability for the taxpayer dollars we invest in higher education."
Representative Bill Zedler represents District 96, located in Tarrant County. He serves on the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform, and the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. Additionally, Rep. Zedler is a member of the legislative TEA Party Caucus, and the Texas Veterans Caucus.