EDINBURG, Texas – What can the Rio Grande Valley expect from the 87th Legislative Session that starts in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 12, 2021?
State Sen. Juan Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra gave their best guesses during a webinar hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 3. The event was moderated by former state Rep. Veronica Gonzales, who is now a vice president at UT-Rio Grande Valley.
Among the topics discussed were the budget deficit, transportation funding, expanding Medicaid, a new speaker for the Texas House of Representatives, additional monies for UTRGV, tuition revenue bonds, the digital divide, and whether the general public will be allowed into the state Capitol, given the coronavirus pandemic.
Sponsors of the webinar included AT&T, DHR Health, UTRGV, Texas Gas Service, City of Edinburg, City of Pharr, Texas National Bank, Carranza Development , Superior Properties, South Texas Health System, Oscar Gonzalez CPA & Associates, and CJE Construction LLC.
Dr. Guy Bailey, president of UTRGV, phoned in to the webinar and asked the legislators about tuition revenue bonds.
Bailey said: “Do you know, our medical school and, in fact, all of our health programs are growing very rapidly. We have a new doctorate in podiatric medicine that will be starting soon. To really implement all the new programs that we do, we need space and I wondered if there are any opportunity for tuition revenue bonds this spring? TRBs would help us build the facilities we need as we bring these new programs online.”
Sen. Hinojosa responded to Bailey’s question. He said: “From discussions that have taken place on the Senate side, because of interest rates being so low right now and because of the deficit we are facing with our budget, it would be a good time to pass revenue bonds, TRBs, so, I think it has support. I think right now you will see much more intense discussion. We just need also for the universities and colleges throughout the state to put a little bit of pressure, if you will, on their legislators and state senators that represent them in the legislature. So, I think it is very doable.”
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