January 2011 President’s Corner

January 28, 2011

Office of the President and
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
John B. Connally Building
301 Tarrow, 7th Floor
College Station, TX 77840-7896

January 31, 2011

Dear TAMHSC Community,

For everything, there is a season…and for the TAMHSC, and all of state government, it is the season of legislative action. Fortunately, we have a superb team that guides our efforts.HSC President Dr. Nancy W. Dickey

Dr. Stanton Calvert is The Texas A&M University System vice chancellor for governmental relations and has strong relationships with the Texas Legislature. Jenny Jones, our vice president for government affairs, has led us very effectively in previous sessions, and we expect another session of strong leadership.

However, the job of Dr. Calvert and Ms. Jones and their team is extraordinarily difficult this session. The Texas Legislature starts with an estimated shortfall ranging from $15 billion to $27 billion. There are substantial numbers of new legislators, and virtually all were elected on a promise of no new taxes. There are billions needed to cover Medicaid obligations for the current biennium as well as the upcoming one. The state is growing, and that means increased demands on all public services, including our public schools and universities, our transportation system, and our health care infrastructure.

Clearly, this will be a challenging session. Based on the initial filed versions of the House and Senate budget bills, the TAMHSC is currently looking at a 16-19 percent reduction from the FY2011 budget, including the 7.5 percent in reversions from this year and last. The number was arrived at by making across-the-board reductions in the higher education funding formulas, eliminating all ARRA dollars ($15 million for us), and reducing all special items by 25 percent. We have enjoyed substantial special item support and have benefited from the ARRA money. It was good when we had it but painful as it disappears.

We only have a starting point, and dollars will likely be added. Our job is to assure that TAMHSC fares at least equitably or better as dollars are added. We are actively meeting with legislators from across the state to share our story, talking about our exceptional students, faculty and staff, our stellar research, and our progress in meeting the needs of the state. Whatever the final number, I am confident that our commitment to excellence and openness to innovation will guide us through the difficult times that may lie ahead. Thank you for all you do to make our Texas A&M Health Science Center exceptional.

Best regards,
Nancy W. Dickey, M.D.
President, Texas A&M Health Science Center
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Texas A&M University System

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