Community Colleges Mull Tax Hikes to Make Up for Vetoed Funding

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AUSTIN (AP) - Community college officials say they'll have to consider property tax increases, tuition hikes and educational program cuts to compensate for $154 million in lost funds.

Governor Rick Perry vetoed the funds in June. The money was meant to cover health insurance costs for community college employees. Perry and college leaders disagree how the costs should be split between the state and local taxpayers and students.

College officials Tuesday made their case for restoring the funding at a hearing of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee.

Perry aides say the governor supports more funding for the colleges, but testimony showed that providing the funds could be complicated.

Legislative Budget Board staff members say the vetoed money is off limits until January 2009, meaning the state will have to find another budget source.