From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2007
CONTACT: Melissa del Bosque
(512) 463-0120, cell (512) 947-4046

SENATOR HINOJOSA SECURES NEW FUNDING IN STATE BUDGET FOR EDUCATION, HEALTH AND COLONIAS

AUSTIN -- On the final day of legislative session, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa commended his colleagues for passing a budget that gives significantly more funding for Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend region.

"As a delegation, we had a very successful session," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said. "We increased funding for our universities, restored CHIP and approved new funding for colonias and health programs in the Coastal Bend."

Senator Hinojosa, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, secured $8.6 million more for the Texas A&M Corpus Christi University in operational funds. He also doubled the operational funds for the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, which received its first increase in funding in 20 years.

In addition, Senator Hinojosa passed a budget rider that creates a new colonia ombudsman for Nueces County. The ombudsman will be a state employee who will work closely with the county to ensure that colonias in the region receive the funding and assistance they need.

Last session, Senator Hinojosa passed SB 425 to allow Nueces County to designate colonias. The bill set up a framework for the county to receive funding for water and wastewater services for colonias. This session, Senator Hinojosa co-authored SJR 20 which will allow the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to issue an additional $250 million in general obligation bonds for economically distressed areas to obtain water and wastewater services if approved by Texas voters next November.

Senator Hinojosa also worked to restore funding to Christus Spohn Hospital that would have required the hospital to provide millions in taxpayer money to make up a cost savings for the state.

"This will lessen the burden of an unfunded mandate created by the state, requiring local taxpayers to absorb the costs," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said.

Besides these funding priorities, Senator Hinojosa and the Coastal Bend delegation passed a number of priority bills for the region including: the creation of a student endowment and internship program at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, the naming of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway, the creation of a municipal court in Corpus Christi and legislation that allows Corpus Christi to use state hotel occupancy tax revenue to clean beaches and fund coastal erosion projects and streamlining the criminal justice system.

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