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Comptroller to review Houston Community College System

A comprehensive Texas School Performance Review of the Houston Community College System (HCCS) by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander will begin in October, with the results released in late spring 2003.

"I have vowed to be the education watchdog for the people of Texas," Comptroller Rylander says. "HCCS provides a vital link in the development of an educated work force--my number one goal for Texas in the 21st Century. We no longer look at education in terms of K-12, but K-16 and beyond. As Texas competes more vigorously in world markets, this generation must compete not only with those from New York and California, but Europe and Asia as well."

The HCCS Board of Trustees passed a resolution on April 9 requesting a performance review and agreeing to pay 25 percent, or $125,000, of the estimated $500,000 review cost. Upon completion, a report will be distributed to HCCS and posted on the Comptroller's Web site at www.window.state.tx.us.

Administration

Rylander names new general counsel

In June, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced the appointment of Jesse Ancira Jr. as General Counsel for the office of Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Ancira was one of Rylander's first hires in her transition to office in 1998. He has served as legislative director, tax ombudsman and, most recently, director of tax administration.

Prior to his work for the Comptroller, Ancira worked for the State Auditor's Office, the Joint House and Senate Committee on General Investigating and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"I am pleased and proud to offer Jesse this opportunity," Rylander says. "His breadth of experience and his exemplary service for the people of Texas will serve us well in this 21st Century. He is an invaluable asset, and, I'm sure he will continue to succeed in his new position."

Finance

Unclaimed assets returned to Ellis County

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander returned 2,424 shares of CVS Corporation stock to Ellis County and presented County Judge Al Cornelius with a check for $2,696, representing the stock's dividends earnings while it was in her care.

Ellis County once owned shares of Revco Drug Stores stock, which wound up on the state's Unclaimed Property List after the company merged with CVS Corporation, another drug store chain.

"I want to commend Ellis County officials for their vigilance in checking the Unclaimed Property List on my Web site and contacting my office to reclaim this stock," Rylander says.

The Unclaimed Property List contains names of hundreds of thousands of unclaimed property owners who have forgotten more than $900 million in cash or other valuables. The Comptroller publishes the Unclaimed Property List annually in Texas newspapers, and her Web site, www.window.state.tx.us, has a database that can be used year-round to locate unclaimed property.

Texas

Comptroller win in district court saves $2 billion

On the heels of a May district court victory against USAA Insurance Co., Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced she had potentially saved Texas taxpayers $2 billion and vowed to continue to use every weapon in her arsenal to fight a court battle brought by USAA.

"Today's decision protects and saves $2 billion for the people of Texas," Rylander says. District Court Judge Margaret Cooper granted Rylander's motion for summary judgment and denied USAA's motion, ruling the company must pay sales tax, motor vehicle tax and fuels tax.

"We prevailed as we felt confident we would do," Rylander says. "USAA should pay the same taxes everyone else does."