Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Perry Will Sign $34 Million Appropriation to Help Lamar University

But Comptroller Is Holding Up Money by Not Certifying Bill, Despite $8 Billion Surplus

Wednesday, May 24, 2006  •  Press Release

BEAUMONT – Gov. Rick Perry told Lamar University officials and students that he would have today signed into law legislation proving $34 million in funding to the school for Hurricane Rita damages except the comptroller has delayed funding for the school.

“I had hoped to sign House Bill 63 today,” Perry said at a news conference on the campus. “However, the comptroller has yet to certify that sufficient funding is available to meet these critical needs, even though the state has a budget surplus of more than eight billion dollars and it has been sitting on her desk for more than a week. Why she didn’t take compassion on the people of Beaumont and certify this bill as quickly as possible I cannot explain.”

Perry said he would sign the bill as soon as he can, but by law he cannot sign it until the comptroller certifies it. House Bill 63 would take immediate effect.

“Because it would take effect immediately, funds will be available quickly to ensure that Lamar has the ability to complete remaining repairs to classrooms, libraries and infrastructure, and the resources needed to continue to provide students an outstanding education next year.

Perry said Texans owe a great deal of gratitude to the lawmakers who made this funding possible by authoring House Bill 63: Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands; Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie; Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland; and Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont.

“University leaders made the right decision by spending most of next year’s budget to get this campus back on its feet as soon as possible, and because of the work of these lawmakers, students and faculty no longer have to worry about a $34 million bill coming due. And if the federal government decides to pay for some of these expenses, Texas taxpayers can rest assured that we are going to use Washington’s money instead.”

Hurricane Rita damaged 80 percent of Lamar University’s buildings last September.

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