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Dear Comptroller Strayhorn:

Your proposal for TexasNextStep for Texas high school graduates is a much-needed step to a stronger economy. Thank you for being persistent in trying to get this bill passed. Even with the stall in the House Higher Education Committee in 2003, your continued tenacity in the 2005 Legislature exposes more Texans to the critical value of an educated populace.

Other states, examples: New Mexico and Wyoming have already enacted similar programs for their states' high school graduates. In the past Texas has been known for its' championing of what is right and leading the way in innovative ideas. Why can the Texas Legislature not see the progress in these states and emulate them?

Your article in the March 2005 issue of Fiscal Notes was very informative. It is obvious that you and your staff have studied this issue thoroughly. The Texas Legislature needs to be reminded that the state's future is based on educated, taxpaying citizens, not on how many deadbeats are incarcerated. Texas' greatest commodity is not cattle, oil, wheat or cotton, but a work force that is trained to meet the challenges of tomorrow.


Anita Palmer
State Board of Nurse Examiners, Olney, Texas