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Summary: Under current law, Texas Tech Health Center in El Paso is a part of the Texas Tech University System where it operates under the Texas Tech Health Center in Lubbock. HB 257 changes this operational structure by allowing the Center in El Paso to function as an autonomous medical school under the Texas Tech University System. Currently, the Center in El Paso receives funding as a budget line item under the Texas Tech University System. HB 257 will enable constitutional formula funding from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) which is allocated based on how many students enroll in the medical school. Furthermore, the need may arise for research funding which is optional and based on the legislature's future support.
Analysis: HB 257 expands the scope of government by making an administrative change that will lead to the need for more funding constitutionally required from PUF; therefore, increasing taxes in the long run. We do not see a compelling state interest to expend the funds necessary to operate an independent medical school in El Paso, when the Texas Tech University System in Lubbock currently operates a Center in El Paso. We oppose HB 257.