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January 14, 2000     (512) 463-0300

Senate Subcommittee on State Investments Held Austin Hearing on Friday

AUSTIN - The Senate Finance Interim Subcommittee on State Investments held a hearing today, January 14, 2000, at the Texas State Capitol.

The subcommittee addressed the Senate Finance Committee's first interim charge: Examine the policies and practices used to invest major state funds (including cash balances), evaluate state investment goals, and the funds' performance in reaching those goals. This examination will include, but is not limited to, review of legal authority, ethical standards, and investment policies and safeguards, management structure, portfolio composition, and identification of short-term and long-term goals. The subcommittee will make recommendations identifying opportunities for improvements or innovations. The subcommittee will coordinate study of this issue with the Committee on State Affairs.

The subcommittee consists of five members appointed by Finance Chair Bill Ratliff. Senator Robert L. Duncan of Lubbock serves as chair. Other Senate members include Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, and Steve Ogden of Bryan.

The hearing began with an overview of state uniform policy investment issues. Invited testimony was provided by Carol Taylor, Managing Auditor, and Roger Farris, Supervising State Assistant Auditor, from the State Auditor's Office. Taylor gave insight into investment management concepts, legislative oversight, and investment policy procedures. Farris discussed modern portfolio theory, measuring investment performance, and investment management strategy.

Next to testify was Craig Hudgins from the Legislative Council. Hudgins gave a brief history of major funds from a constitutional standpoint. He also discussed the language usage in funds and investment advisements. He then concluded his testimony with discussing investment standards.

The next group to testify was Wayne Pulver, Tax Policy Analyst, and Ursula Parks, Analyst for the Texas Education Agency. Both witnesses were from the Legislative Budget Board. Pulver discussed investment and asset funds. Parks gave testimony relating to allotment of text book funds.

After Pulver and Parks' testimony, Stephanie Coats, Analyst for the Employees Retirement System and the Teacher Retirement System, along with Debbie Beck, of the Higher Education Team gave testimony to the subcommittee. Beck discussed the Permanent University Fund (PUF) and the Permanent Higher Education fund.

No public testimony was given today.

The subcommittee recessed subject to call of the chair. The Finance Interim Subcommittee on State Investments will meet again at a time and location to be announced at a later date.

Click here to view the hearing in RealVideo format.

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