The following is a collection of news and notes involving issues that affect House District 32.
Texas is currently holding more than $2.2 billion in cash and other valuables waiting for their rightful owners to claim. The Texas Comptroller estimates that one in four residents of the state have unclaimed property. Examples of unclaimed property include dividend, payroll or cashier’s checks; stocks, bonds and mutual fund accounts; utility deposits and other refunds; insurance proceeds; mineral interest or royalty payments; dormant bank accounts; and abandoned safe deposit box contents.
The Texas Comptroller’s office receives unclaimed property as required by law from financial institutions, businesses, and government entities that are holding personal property which is considered abandoned or unclaimed. The unclaimed or abandoned property is turned over to the Comptroller’s office on an annual basis when the property owners’ whereabouts are unknown and the property has been inactive on the books of the reporting company after the necessary abandonment period has expired. It is important to know that the Comptroller’s office acts only as a custodian of the unclaimed property, and holds the property in a trust until such time as it can be claimed. Texas does not take legal ownership of the unclaimed property, so there is no time limit for filing a claim.
In 2010, the Texas Comptroller travelled around the state to bring public attention to the billions in unclaimed property being held by the State of Texas. The unclaimed property though is not just limited to individual Texans, “Cities, counties and school districts face challenges in this tough economy,” the Comptroller said in 2010. “Our office has expanded its efforts to help government entities reclaim property, and … to get this money back and put it to work for the taxpayers.” More than $163 million dollars was returned to their owners in 2010.
To find out if you are one of the millions of Texas residents with unclaimed property, I strongly recommend that you check the unclaimed property list by clicking here or by calling 1-800-654-FIND (3463).
TEXAS TUITION PROMISE FUND ENROLLMENT OPENS
The annual enrollment for the Texas Tuition Promise Fund (Fund) opened on September 1st and runs through February 29, 2012. The Fund is designed to help parents who are concerned about squeezing college tuition payments into a tight family budget. Parents are able to use the Fund to prepay all or part of their children’s tuition as week as required fees to any of Texas’ public colleges or universities at today’s levels. This allows parents to get ahead of rising tuition costs by paying for those tuition “units” years in advance. For those parents or grandparents interested in purchasing these tuition units, they are offered in three types, at the current rate of:
• Type I units, priced for tuition and required fees for the most expensive public four-year school in Texas, cost $111.68 per unit.
• Type II units, based on the weighted average cost of tuition and required fees across all Texas public four-year schools, cost $79.70 per unit.
• Type III units, priced at the weighted average cost of tuition and required fees across all Texas public two-year schools, cost $20.54 each.
100 units is equivalent to one academic year consisting of 30 semester hours of tuition and required fees at our Texas public colleges or universities. An individual can prepay up to six years or 600 units of their child’s undergraduate tuition and required fees. The program offers several payment options including lump sum payments, installment payments which include 8% interest, or even a ‘pay as you go’ plan that allows parents to gradually add more units as their budget permits.
Additional information about the prepaid college tuition program, including a college cost calculator, can be found here or by calling 1-800-445-GRAD (4723) option 5.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).