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Partnership SUPPORTS university admissions CAP INCREASE and comprehensive property appraisal reform


BY Alex Wang [ May 10, 2009 at 09:05:22 ]

partnership SUPPORTS university admissions CAP INCREASE and comprehensive property appraisal reform

(among other items in recently approved resolutions)

HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership voted this week at its May Board of Directors meeting to approve several key resolutions affecting the Houston region. Resolutions include support of increasing the university admissions cap under the top 10 percent rule, comprehensive property appraisal reform, and health plan coverage for routine patient care costs associated with clinical trials.

Admissions Cap Under Top 10 Percent Rule

The Greater Houston Partnership supports legislation increasing the cap to admissions to Texas’ top universities under the top 10 percent law to 50 percent of an incoming freshman class.

The Greater Houston Partnership acknowledges that:

• Factors such as academic rigor in high schools, extracurricular activities, civic and leadership engagement should be considered in determining admission to top universities in Texas.

• The current practice has led to a “brain drain” of well-qualified students who choose to attend out-of-state universities because they are not in the top 10 percent of their schools.

• Universities need the flexibility to consider criteria other than high school rank, such as test scores, special talents, leadership ability, personal achievements or other relevant aspects of what the student can offer the academic environment.

• If the present rule is not modified by 2013, one public university in the state will be forced to reject all graduates of Texas high schools who are not in the Top 10 percent.

Public School Accountability

The Greater Houston Partnership supports the two education accountability Bills, S. B. 3 and H. B. 3, which passed in the Texas Senate and House.

We support efforts to ensure that college readiness, academic rigor and relevance are the primary underpinnings of an accountability system. We are also supportive of returning promotion decisions to the schools, but the system must hold districts and schools accountable for socially promoting unprepared students. A well-educated work force is essential to remaining competitive in a global economy.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiatives

The Greater Houston Partnership supports the following efforts to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives:

• Enable market entry for renewable energy technologies and distributed energy generation by utilizing market-based incentives, removing regulatory barriers and assisting with capital formation.

• Utilize state funds to match federal stimulus money for grants or loans promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

• Increase funding to promote the expansion of energy efficiency programs to the maximum extent possible while still maintaining cost effectiveness.

• Require tier 2 renewable energy technologies within the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

• Establish green job skills training programs and expand agricultural job transition and extension programs for the green energy sector.

Comprehensive Property Appraisal Reform

The Greater Houston Partnership supports legislative efforts to reform the appraisal of taxable property for ad valorem tax purposes.

Despite the property relief measures enacted in 2006 during a special Legislative Session, many property owners claim they have not experienced any tax relief and, in fact, have witnessed a dramatic increase in property appraisal values. Adopting an appraisal reform package will not only provide a more consistent standard of property appraisal, but also prevent a dramatic increase in appraisal values from year to year.

Opposition to Disclosure of Certain Appraisal District Records

The Greater Houston Partnership opposes legislative efforts to allow licensed appraisers to obtain confidential information from an appraisal district relating to the property to be appraised. If enacted, this provision would create a substantial gap in the existing statutory provisions providing for confidentiality of information furnished by property owners to appraisal districts under a promise of confidentiality. Many commercial and industrial property owners may react to this type of legislation by refusing to submit proprietary information to appraisal districts. This reaction, in turn, would adversely affect the property appraisal process.

Clinical Trials Health Plan Coverage

The Greater Houston Partnership supports legislation that results in health benefit plan coverage for routine patient care costs incurred by those individuals who participate in clinical trials. Clinical trials are conducted on human patients to test the safety and effectiveness of new treatments that result in the saving of many lives.

Out of Network Referrals

The Greater Houston Partnership opposes legislation that results in health plan limitations concerning their ability to terminate or non-renew physician contracts for out-of-network referral patterns.

Regular referrals to facilities or other providers with financial interest in the referring facility or other provider’s practice result in costs far exceeding in-network and erode the contracting arrangement between network physicians, provider and health plans.

The Greater Houston Partnership urges lawmakers to oppose legislation that will result in increased costs and unnecessary care to employees and their employers.

###
The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of Houston’s business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. It represents 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. With more than 2,100 Member organizations, the Partnership represents approximately one-fifth of the region’s work force. Visit the Greater Houston Partnership at houston.org.

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