from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
September 5, 2006

Statement from Senator Judith Zaffirini Regarding Tax-Free College Textbooks

AUSTIN -- The costs associated with higher education are burdensome. Escalating tuition and textbook costs affect not only students working toward their degrees in higher learning, but also future students considering the feasibility of costs associated with four- and two-year institutions. As the cost of attending college increases, it is important to provide financial support to promote student participation, access to education and overall student success.

This is why I authored legislation during the 2005 Regular Legislative Session and the 2005 and 2006 Special Sessions to establish two 10-day periods during which students could purchase textbooks tax-free. Students and I were delighted that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst supported this effort and that he highlighted the legislation during his daily post-session news conference.

According to the College Board, textbooks cost students at four-year institutions an average of $843 per year and students at two-year institutions an average of $745 per year. These are incredible costs, and our students need suitable relief so they can focus on working toward a timely graduation. Today (Sept. 5) students at The University of Texas at Austin are rallying for financial relief from high-priced textbooks. Many of them supported my Senate Bill 222 and related legislation, and some of them testified in its favor. Accordingly, I look forward to working with them to pass the bill that I will file anew for the legislative session that convenes on Jan. 9.

As the newly appointed Chair to the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education, I remain committed to ensuring that higher education remains affordable and accessible for all deserving students.

Attachment: Copy of SB 222, legislation by Zaffirini to create tax-free textbook periods.

Fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, the senator is the namesake of United ISD's Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School, Laredo Community College's Senator Judith Zaffirini Library, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park's Senator Judith Zaffirini Road and the Judith Zaffirini Program in Edinburg that focuses on fighting drug addictions of men, women and children. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst recently appointed her Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education. He also appointed her Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Funding for Higher Education, Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and to the Legislative Budget Board, and to the Senate Committees on Education, Health and Human Services, and International Relations and Trade. She will begin her 20th year in the Texas Senate in 2007.

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