This Week in Texas: December 18, 2013

Posted December 18, 2013 in The Mignon Memo

Happy Holidays!  This will be the last edition of the Mignon Memo for 2013.  We will resume again in 2014. 

Mark Hussey was named interim president of Texas A&M University in College Station by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.  Hussey will fill the temporary position in mid-January, after current President R. Bowen Loftin leaves to become chancellor of the University of Missouri. Hussey, Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the system’s vice chancellor for agricultural agencies, will not be a candidate for the permanent presidency.  

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has chosen a name for the new university to be located in South Texas. It will be known as The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.  The school is being formed through a merger of UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American and will include a new medical school. 

Comptroller Susan Combs reported that Texas expects to bring in $2.6 billion more than the state will spend in the current two-year budget cycle.  In 2013, taxes from retail sales grew 3.7 percent. There was a 14.3 percent growth in sales tax revenue from the manufacturing sector and 12.5 percent from construction businesses. Oil production and regulation taxes are up 27.6 percent from 2012-2013 levels. 

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed eight members to the advisory committee for the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.  Davis Miller of Abernathy, a former chief commercialization officer at Texas Tech University, was named committee chairman.   Richard Battle of Lakeway is a published author and vice president of sales for KeyTrak Inc., a software company based in College Station. Deborah Dalebout-Feo of Austin is co-founder and executive vice president of Optimization Alternatives Limited Inc. and Healthcare Control Systems Inc.  Susan “Sue” Georgen-Saad of Austin is a certified public accountant and private investment consultant. Other members include Randal “Randy” Hill of Baird, a NASCAR team owner and president and CEO of Randy Hill Racing; Munir Lalani of Wichita Falls, president and CEO of Lalani Lodging; Wesley Terrell of Dallas, an attorney for AT&T; and Richard Williams of Dallas, director of strategy and mergers and acquisitions for Energy Future Holdings, an electric utility holding company.  The Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 to provide Texas with an advantage in the research, development, and commercialization of emerging technologies.