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Investments

Under new management

State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced a new five-year contract to manage the state-run investment pool, TexPool, after a unanimous recommendation from TexPool's Evaluation Committee. Lehman Brothers Inc. and Federated Investors Inc. will take over the contract for investing, marketing and participant services beginning no later than May 1, 2002, and should provide significant savings to participants.

"Government will be seen as bigger, dumber and slower than ever before--if we don't become smaller, smarter and faster right now. TexPool's services can help local governments get a better return on their investments. And that's a smarter way to invest the taxpayers' money," Rylander says.

In addition to the savings, the participants will benefit from enhanced services such as extended cut-off times and longer service hours. This management structure and investment strategy will allow investors to put more of every dollar into their investment and less into fees and finance charges.

Education

School districts making progress

The Texas Comptroller's office reported McDade and Smithville Independent School Districts (ISD) in Bastrop County have implemented or are adopting a combined total of 46 of the 53 recommendations the agency offered the districts in two Texas School Performance Reviews (TSPR) in 2000.

"I want to applaud both the McDade and Smithville ISD's steady progress in implementing TSPR's recommendations," TSPR Manager Betty Ressel says. "Over the last year, these districts have taken these recommendations seriously and in some cases have gone beyond what TSPR recommended."

The McDade ISD has implemented or is in the process of implementing 16 of the 19 proposals. The Smithville ISD review offered 34 recommendations, of which 30 have been or will be implemented.

The full reviews of McDade and Smithville ISDs and the Comptroller's progress reports of the districts can be found on the Comptroller's Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/m26edu.html

The Texas School Performance Review has been nationally recognized by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as a winner of the 1999 Innovations in Government competition.

Taxes

Online filing for all Texas businesses

Making good on a promise she made when she launched her e-Texas initiative, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced that all Texas businesses may now file sales tax returns online, using the Comptroller's WebFile system at www.window.state.tx.us/webfile/.

"If all Texas businesses paid their sales tax online, the paper alone that we would save would reach seven times the distance from the floor of the Capitol rotunda to the top of the dome," Comptroller Rylander says.

"When I announced my e-Texas initiative, I vowed to expand the use of technology to cut costs and improve the quality of service to taxpayers," Rylander says. "WebFile makes it easier for businesses to file tax returns and saves the state time and money."

Each year, the Comptroller's office processes about 2.6 million sales tax returns filed by more than 615,000 businesses. More than 100,000 businesses already use electronic tax filing.

Taxes

Comptroller delivers $338.8 million in rebates

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander delivered $338.8 million in monthly sales tax payments to 1,117 Texas cities and 121 counties, a 1 percent increase compared with the $335.3 million paid in February 2001. Sales tax rebates to Texas cities and counties in 2002 are up 0.8 percent compared to the first two months of 2001.

February's sales tax rebates include local sales taxes collected in December and reported to the Comptroller in January. The state's share of sales tax collected during this period was $1.2 billion, down 1.4 percent compared with a year ago.

Comptroller Rylander sent February sales tax rebates of $313.3 million to Texas cities, up 0.7 percent compared with February 2001. Texas counties received February sales tax rebates of $25.5 million.