The Permanent University Fund (PUF) has been a controversial topic over the decades in Texas politics. The almost 130 year-old fund only benefits two of the state's university systems: the University of Texas System and Texas A&M University System.

On Friday, State Senator Charles Perry (R- Lubbock SD-28) and State Representative Dustin Burrows (R- Lubbock HD-83) filed legislation that, if passed, would amend the state constitution and change the allocation of PUF money.

Senate Joint Resolution 14 and House Joint Resolution 24 are identical pieces of legislation. Under the language of the bills, 1/3rd of the PUF would be reallocated to emerging research universities and other Texas institutions of higher education.

According to Senator Perry and Chairman Burrows, the PUF is comprised of 2.1 million public acres in West Texas. The mineral rights on those lands have generated vast amounts of money for the University of Texas and for Texas A&M over the past century. As of June 2021, the PUF’s net asset value is approximately $24 billion.

Sen. Perry said, "Today, Chairman Burrows and I filed constitutional amendments to reform the Permanent University Fund. In existence for over 130 years, the PUF Fund has distributed billions to two universities. Texas has almost 30 million people and dozens of public institutions of higher education. The PUF has served its original mission well which was to establish a globally impactful high quality education – mission accomplished. It is time for all college students to benefit from a truly Texas resource.

"This money could curb the high cost of tuition and curb property taxes, fund research, and provide funding to the ever-increasing important community colleges. It is time to positively impact post-secondary education for all students."

Chairman Burrows also said,  "It is past time to equitably fund all of the state’s higher education institutions that came into existence after 1883; the State of Texas certainly possesses the wealth and resources to do so.

"The PUF benefits from resources across a wide swath of Texas, but Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, Texas State University, University of North Texas, among others, receive nothing. The current structure of the PUF is unfair to these schools and, just as importantly, unfair to the Texas taxpayers who help support them."

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While the state legislature is currently meeting in a special session, Governor Greg Abbott would have to add legislation relating to the PUF to the agenda for the special session, otherwise it can't be passed by the Texas House and Senate.

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