Office of Government Relations

The Office of Government Relations serves as a University liaison with state and federal governments and agencies. A priority of this office is to monitor the state and federal legislative process as it pertains to the mission of Troy University.

Marcus B. Paramore
Director of State and Federal Government Relations 
Phone: (334) 241-8622

Alan C. Boothe
Director of Local Government Relations
Phone: (334) 670-3897

Courtney Staples
Secretary
Phone: (334) 241-8622

Office of Government Relations
Troy University
P.O. Box 4419
Montgomery, AL 36103-4419

 

Economic Impact Executive Summary

The Troy University Economic Impact Executive Summary is available below as a PDF document. Please click the link below to view this document.

Economic Impact Executive Summary

Center for International Business and Economic Development Web Site

 

Legislative Updates

Last week the legislature gave final approval to the 2007 fiscal year appropriation for the Education Trust Fund. The House and the Senate both rejected Governor Bob Riley’s executive amendments and then over-rode his veto.

Again, I am proud to announce that Troy University will receive the largest increase in our appropriation since our office was created. TROY will receive $52,067,717 for FY ’07, this is an increase of $8,607,957. This 19.81% increase is one of the largest with the other non-doctoral institutions averaging only a 17.43% increase.

This budget will help TROY cover mandated cost such as retirement benefits and insurance cost for our retirees. Many have asked if this budget includes a pay raise for higher education faculty and staff. While the Legislature normally addresses pay raises and sets the rate for K-12, individual university boards set pay increases for their faculty and staff.

The ETF Budget also addresses our FTE funding crisis. Currently we are the lowest funded non-doctoral university at $3842 per FTE. We lobbied extensively to increase our appropriation and were successful in making the first steps to get us to the average of the other non-doctoral institutions. Joining us in our efforts was the University of South Alabama who currently is in the same position.

We want to thank the members of the Alabama Legislature for their efforts in the budget process. Again, Representative Alan Boothe along with Senator Jimmy Holley and Senator Gerald Dial led the charge for Troy University. We also thank the members of our alumni delegation for their leadership.

Legislature Convenes in Montgomery

The Alabama Legislature started the 2006 Regular Session on Tuesday, January 10th with talk of record revenues for the Education Trust Fund. It will be interesting to see how the House and the Senate decide to spend what could be $1 billion in new revenues.

Governor Bob Riley started the session with the annual State of the State address before an overflow crowd in the old House Chambers by promising record spending for education. The Governor outlined a plan to spend $500 million in a capitol improvement plan for public schools. This one-time money is to be used to make much needed repairs to Alabama’s public schools and universities. Under his proposal, TROY would receive $7.5 million.

The Governor’s budget provides a 13.64% increase over the previous appropriation for Troy University. This increase covers most of our requests, however we will continue to seek additional revenue. The Governor’s budget will start the process of moving through the Legislature next week.

The Governor’s Budget is based on the Alabama Commission on Higher Education’s (ACHE) recommendation. The ACHE recommendation provides a good scenario for TROY because it recommends covering mandated cost for Teacher Retirement System increases and retiree healthcare. It also provides a small equity adjustment for institutions like TROY where per student funding falls far below the state and regional standard.

This should prove to be an interesting session as most legislators want to pass the budgets as soon as possible so that they might return home to campaign before the June primaries. The session is schedule to end on April 24.

Legislature to Convene Special Session

The Alabama legislature will convene a Special Session today to consider five (5) bills aimed at reforming the health insurance programs for state employees (SEHIP) and education employees (PEEHIP). Two measures in the proposed package of bills, if passed in their present form, will affect future university retirees.One proposed change would tie the out of pocket cost for retirees’ health insurance to the number of years worked. University employees who retire after September 30, 2005 with less than 25 years of service will face an out of pocket increase of 2% per year for each year under 25. However, this bill would also decrease out of pocket cost for retirees by 2% per year for each year over 25.A second measure would require retirees who become employed with another employer to utilize the employer’s health coverage as their primary coverage provided that the employer contributes 50% or more to the coverage. The retiree can still use SEHIP or PEEHIP as secondary coverage.

The session could last 5 days, however it could take 2 weeks.

Legislature Concludes Regular Session

The Alabama legislature concluded the 2004 Regular Session at around 10:00 pm on Monday, May 17, 2004. This was the first time in quite awhile that the Legislature did not go until midnight to complete their business. Most believe the Governor will call a special session in late summer to again address government accountability. The Education Trust Fund Budget passed the Legislature in early May. Gov. Riley promptly signed the $4.5 billion budget. This budget provides an additional $1.2 million for Troy University . While we are thankful for the increase, we must still find ways to fund retirement and retiree health insurance. These unfunded mandates were directed by the legislature last year. The General Fund Budget passed on the last day of the session, the largest in state history. The $1.4 billion budget is one that simply covers the anticipated expenses for most state agencies. Medicaid, Public Health, Public Safety and Senior Services will receive a slight increase while all other state agencies are level funded or will have a slight decrease. To balance the General Fund Budget state lawmakers increased taxes on tobacco products, raised the state tax on nursing home beds, raised the severance tax on oil and natural gas produced in Alabama, increased fees for filing most types of civil court cases, and increased fees for inspections and licenses for the Department of Agriculture and Industries. Also, the state eliminated the sales tax exemption for contractors on products bought for local, state and federal construction projects through 2006. This tax increase will generate $196 million. While accountability provided the most debate early in the session, none of the Governor's accountability package passed. The Higher Education Reform Act, HB 315/SB 295, died in the last days of the session. Troy University worked with the Governor to amend this bill into a workable piece of legislation. We will probably see this legislation again if the Governor calls a special session.

Troy University , along with several other universities, was able to able to defeat efforts to eliminate the 50-mile radius policy for out-of-state students. We met with our legislative delegations from Montgomery , Phenix City , Dothan and Troy and rallied support to keep this important policy in place. We also solicited the help of our colleagues at South Alabama, North Alabama, West Alabama and Jacksonville State.

Summary of ETF Budget

The ETF Budget, which passed the Alabama Legislature for FY '05, contains over $4.5 billion dollars. This is a slight increase over the FY '04 budget. The following are a few highlights of this budget. The percentage of the overall ETF budget for higher education was 26.59%, down from 27.10% from the FY '04 budget. Although the numbers for higher education increased in this budget, the overall share of the total budget decreased. The FY '05 ETF Budget had an increase of $249,706,991 over the previous year. This is an increase of 5.83%. Higher Education received an increase of $44,942,928 for an increase of 3.87%. Of this increase the Universities received $27,664,351. This was an increase of 3.24%. The two yr. system received $14,030,658 for a 5.53% increase. In FY '04 Troy University had an appropriation of $35,808,013. Troy's appropriation for FY '05 is $37,080,895 for an increase of $1,272,882. This was an increase of 3.55%. K-12 received an increase of $234,529,976 from the previous year. This is an increase of 8.09%. While our university received a slight increase, we still must find ways to fund retirement and retiree health insurance. These unfunded mandates were directed by the Legislature last year.

Once again, K-12 received a greater percentage increase in funding with most being additional funding for education employees' health insurance premiums. Alabama's public schools will receive more funding for textbooks and the Alabama Reading Initiative will be fully funded for K-3.

The Alabama Legislature continues to be ineffective as the Senate continues in a deadlock over rule changes and committee assignments. While the House of Representatives continues to pass some legislation both chambers are reluctant to take up the budgets until tax reform is addressed.

Governor Bob Riley announced Thursday that he would like to call a special session within the regular session. This special session is scheduled to convene on Monday, May 19. The House passed a resolution regarding this but the Senate adjourned without passage. The Senate is expected to pass this resolution some time this week. The special session is expected to end by June 6.

The Governor’s special session will address the issue of tax reform in our state. There is a high level of anticipation for tax reform. The Riley Administration, Campaign for Alabama, the Higher Education Partnership, and other education entities have been meeting for a long time to make sure the agenda is set for this special session. Gordon Stone and The Higher Education Partnership have been at the table and continue to work hard to make sure the voice of all our colleges and universities are heard.

As the legislative process moves forward, we will continue to keep all our faculty, staff, students, alumni, advocates and friends up to date. We will monitor the package of bills that are designed to produce additional revenue to shore up the budgetary shortfalls facing the State of Alabama. This is a call for action to all Troy University advocates during this special session. We want you to take an active role in reminding legislators of the importance of generating new revenue for our University.

“If you leave politics alone, politics will leave you alone – and that ain’t good”

GO TROJANS!

Several key issues have arisen from the Alabama Legislature since our last update. I want to update each of you on a few bills that have been introduced this session, and the status of these bills.

Many of you are aware of HB 565, the “out-of-state tuition” bill. This legislation would eliminate the current statue of allowing colleges and universities to extend in-state tuition rates to students who live within a 50-mile radius. This bill would strike a major economic blow to the well being of many institutions in the state. This is a critical issue for Troy University Dothan and Phenix City.

Dr Barbara Alford, interim President Troy University Dothan, has written an excellent position paper on this subject. It was printed in The Dothan Eagle, circulated to other newspapers in the state, and given to every member of the House and Senate. The message was clear that Troy University did not support this bill.

We need to thank our local delegation from Dothan, Troy and Phenix City for derailing this legislation for at least this session. We also thank our colleagues at South Alabama, North Alabama and West Alabama for their support in this endeavor.

Another piece of legislation of concern to Troy University and the Higher Education Family is SB 374/HB 571. These bills would shift the cost of higher education retirees’ health benefits from the Public Education Employer Health Insurance Program (PEEHIP) line in the education budget to the operating budgets of colleges and universities. This would result in an unfunded mandate to higher education of approximately $25 million. This bill only shifts cost, it does not raise additional revenue, nor does it reduce an expense to the taxpayer. This would create additional financial stress on university budgets at a time when funding for state universities is declining.

Please contact your state representative and senator encouraging opposition to these bills. You can locate your respective legislator through the link provided on this web site.

GO TROJANS!

The Alabama Legislature convened the 2003 Regular Session on Tuesday, March 4, 2003. This looks to be one of the most challenging sessions in our state’s history. The Office of Government Relations was present for the Legislative Organizational Session and the Budget Hearings before the Joint Legislative Committee on Finances and Budgets.

The Governor presented his FY ’04 budget to both the House and the Senate and it included drastic cuts to the Education Trust Fund. The budget was cut by 6.34%, with cuts to the Troy University System budget estimated at 3.14%, reducing our appropriation from 35.8 million to 34.7 million. The only items fully funded by the Governor were debt reduction, PEEHIP, and retirement benefits.

Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of the Troy University System, provided testimony before the House Education Finance and Appropriations Committee on the possible effect budgets cuts would have on our state colleges and universities. He appeared as the Chairman of University President’s Council of the Higher Education Partnership. He stressed to the committee that cuts would force everyone to freeze the hiring of new faculty and staff and leave vacancies unfilled, a decrease in scholarships, maintenance deferred, technology needs not addressed; and we will be forced to again raise tuition. Dr. Hawkins stated, “inadequate support from the state has shifted much of the burden to students, has left our buildings in disrepair, and has resulted in a loss of faculty. We are losing qualified administrators and faculty, and we are experiencing difficulty in attracting the best and brightest from other states.”

House Education Finance and Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Lindsey (D-Centre) stated that the Governor’s budget would be changed during the session and that he doesn’t expect his committee to take up the education budget until April.

The House of Representatives and the Senate both passed resolutions commending the 2002-03 TROY Men’s Basketball Team for winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championship and earning their first ever berth to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. The coaches and members of the team will be invited to both chambers for recognition in the next few weeks.

An estimated crowd of over 2,000 students, faculty/staff, advocates, and friends, gathered in front of the Alabama State House for a rally to support Alabama’s public colleges and universities. Higher Education Day 2003 was a great success and was well attended from all campuses of the Troy University System. Governor Bob Riley, Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley, House Speaker Seth Hammett (D-Andalusia), Senate President Pro Tem Lowell Barron (D-Fyffe), Senate Minority Leader Jabo Waggoner (R-Birmingham), Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee Chairman Hank Sanders (D-Selma), House Education Finance & Appropriation Committee Chairman Richard Lindsey (D-Centre), Bill O’Connor of the Campaign for Alabama, Gordon Stone of the Higher Education Partnership, and several other members of the state legislature addressed the crowd of Higher Education supporters. Mr. Stone and his staff are to be commended on a great rally to bring together our state’s leaders and the higher education community.

The House and the Senate adjourned for a legislative spring break and are scheduled to convene on Tuesday, April 1, 2003, at 1 p.m. Continue to check this site for periodic updates from the Alabama State House.

GO TROJANS!

The Office of Government Relations is now established and is off to a fast start for the 2003 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. The role of this office is to promote the mission and interest of the Troy University System at the Alabama State House in Montgomery.

We have a web presence that can be viewed at www.troy.edu/governmentrelations/. Please visit this site for links to your elected officials and to various government offices and agencies. There is a link on how to best correspond with your elected officials and how you can participate in the political process.

We want you to be a part of our Legislative Alert Campaign. We currently have over 7,000 e-mail addresses to inform our constituents on important proceedings with the legislature. This network can and will be a powerful tool in informing the legislature on issues of importance to our campuses. There is a link on the Office of Government Relations web site to give us your contact information so we can add you to this network. The stronger the network, the more powerful our voice.

If you would like to become more involved in our activities, please feel free to contact our offices by calling 334/241-8623. The Office of Government Relations is ready to serve you and lead our efforts in Montgomery. Together we can build a greater TROY.

GO TROJANS!

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