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News Release

Media Advisory

Abandoned Funds Provide Pay Raise for Higher Education Faculty

(Austin)--Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced today that Texas college and university faculty members will be eligible for pay raises starting

Sept. 1, thanks to the planned sale of about $40 million in abandoned corporate stock from the state's unclaimed property inventory.

"Last year, I asked the Legislature to give me the authority to find money to provide merit raises to higher education faculty. I have found the money within my own agency," Comptroller Rylander said.

"Acting upon my e-Texas commitment to use technology to make state government more efficient and effective, I began a new investment system in which unclaimed stocks are electronically deposited with the Depository Trust Company (DTC), which handles the bulk of all stock transactions in the United States.

"With the new investment system, we know how much our DTC holdings are worth every single day," Comptroller Rylander said. "We are able to sell stock when it is prudent to do so, and use the money for the benefit of the state.

Under the state's unclaimed property law, banks and businesses are required to turn over to the state any abandoned money or other valuables whose owners cannot be found. Millions of dollars in abandoned stock certificates have been forwarded to the Comptroller's office where, until Comptroller Rylander's administration, they gathered dust in a vault.

"There has never been a policy or a process for liquidating unclaimed stock. Now there is," Comptroller Rylander said.

"My most important duty under the Unclaimed Property Law, and one I take very seriously, is to reunite Texans with their lost, forgotten or abandoned money and other valuables. Each year I publish the names of hundreds of thousands of unclaimed property owners in newspapers and on the Internet, but more than $700 million remains unclaimed.

"Until the owners turn up, the state is allowed to put unclaimed funds to good use, and I can't think of a better use than to give the distinguished and dedicated faculty of Texas colleges and universities a well-deserved pay raise," Comptroller Rylander said.

"We must increase faculty salaries to help Texas higher education institutions attract and retain high-quality instructors," Comptroller Rylander said. "Top-caliber public universities are vital for Texas to attract high-skill, high-wage jobs."

Texas' average higher education faculty salary was nearly 10 percent less than the average salary paid by the 10 largest states. The average faculty pay at Texas' four-year public colleges and universities was $53,360 in 1997-98, below the national average of $54,920.

The pay raise that will take effect Sept. 1 will not be an across-the-board increase. The Legislature directed that raises be awarded to faculty members based on merit. Each eligible campus will receive a 3 percent increase in funding for faculty salaries to be divided among instructors as the university sees fit. The pay raise covers faculty at the state's public universities, technical colleges, services agencies and medical institutions. Community college faculty and non-academic higher education employees are not included. Non-academic employees received the $100-a-month state employee pay raise in 1999.


e-Texas is an initiative of Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas

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