The Greater Houston Partnership, in collaboration with Texans for Tier One, hosted a press conference today discussing the business community’s support for Proposition 4 and its role in elevating the University of Houston to Tier One status. If passed, the referendum item will establish a national research university fund (NRUF) to help emerging research universities achieve national prominence as major research universities.
Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, was joined by Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby and Welcome Wilson, Chair of the Board of Regents for the University of Houston System, in encouraging the region’s voters to support Proposition 4 at the polls. Hobby and Wilson serve as co-chair and treasurer of Texans for Tier One, respectively. Also in attendance was Rep. Dan Branch (Dist. 108), Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee. Rep. Branch made this initiative one of his key priorities upon taking the helm of the committee. Rep. Scott Hochberg (Dist. 137), Chairman of the House Appropriates Subcommittee on Education, also attended.
Moseley emphasized the economic benefits of being the home of the state’s next Tier One university and the role such a move would play in stemming the “brain drain” the region currently faces. “A healthy talent pool of skilled, well-trained workers is one of the most important variables corporations consider when looking at a relocation or expansion,” he said. “Imagine the increased competitive advantage we would enjoy if we could keep more of our talented students in the state and increase the number we attract from outside of Texas.” The state of Texas currently loses more than 10,000 high school students per year to doctoral granting universities outside of the state and attracts only 4,000. The rate of “brain drain” has increased by 54 percent over the last 6 years.
Former Lieutenant Governor Hobby discussed a recent report by Texas economist M. Ray Perryman entitled “State of Minds” which provides an analysis of the economic impact of dramatically increasing the number of Tier One universities in the state. According to Perryman’s findings, research spending offers a 226 percent return on investment when factoring in job growth and increased local sales.
A public service announcement featuring the Partnership’s Chairman, Daniel G. Bellow, also made its debut. The announcement emphasizes the importance of Proposition 4 to the future of economic development and job growth in the Houston region. It also highlights the fact the NRUF will be established without increased taxes.
To see more photos from this event please click here.