The Texas State Senate - Rodney Ellis News Releases
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis
For Immediate Release
November 15, 1999
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113
Senator Ellis Tabbed for High Tech Post
Lieutenant Governor Perry Appoints Ellis to Advisory Council on Digital Economy
AUSTIN -- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today was tabbed by Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry for an assignment that may help shape Texas' economic success in the 21st Century.
Ellis was appointed to the Advisory Council on the Digital Economy. The council is made up of 21 Texans from the public and private sector, and will examine tax policy, education, Web privacy and access, and rural economic development to help encourage high tech growth and job creation in Texas.
"Technology and education is now the engine that drives the Texas economy," said Ellis. "In the 21st Century, microchips and hard drives are just as important to our future as energy and cattle. We must make the smart choices now to ensure that Texas continues to be the world leader in high tech well into the future.
Senator Ellis, who sponsored legislation creating the new TEXAS Grant program and $506 million in business, sales and Internet tax cuts, stressed that education and tax incentives for high tech will continue to be his focus.
"Education and incentives will keep the high tech boom from becoming a high tech bust," said Ellis. "We have to do more to help colleges and universities produce more graduates and continue to offer sensible tax incentives for technology industries or we'll lose these companies to other states that offer more."
The Advisory Council on the Digital Economy will examine a number of technology-related issues, including:
- Develop ways to maintain, promote and strengthen Texas' leadership in the digital economy by reducing governmental impediments to technology growth and job creation, and encouraging technology companies to locate in and remain in Texas.
- Examine how best to promote Texas technology and bio-technology, how tax policy impacts the growth of Texas' high tech industries, and how state government permitting, contracting and regulating affect the growth of Texas' high tech industry.
- Develop strategies to encourage a more skilled and educated workforce by examining K-12 mathematics and science programs, to integrate technology into public school curricula and teacher training, and to improve high school technology programs.
- Examine higher education's role in technology growth, including how community colleges can best address high-tech workforce demands, what role investment in higher education research and development plays in technology growth, and how to encourage the transition of technology from university labs to commercial production.
- Develop strategies to promote the opportunities stemming from the Internet and safe, reliable e-commerce, to minimize the effect of the so-called "digital divide" to make sure Texans of all geographic areas and income levels have access to the Internet; to encourage consumer protections, including fraud protection, privacy protection and anti-spamming protection; and to improve the ability of parents to monitor their children's Internet use.
- Encourage the utilization of the Internet in addressing public health concerns and the delivery of medical information and services, in encouraging greater public participation in the democratic process, and in enhancing rural economic development.
"I am honored that Lieutenant Governor Perry selected me for this council, said Ellis. "I look forward to tackling an agenda that will build a better future for Texas."