CPA Sen. Tommy Williams (R-the Woodlands) has filed SB 777 and CPA Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton) filed HB 1521 to correct an inconsistency in the fifth-year accounting scholarship program that occurred during the last session.
The fifth-year scholarship funds are subsidized by $10 added to every CPA's annual license fee. Last session a bill was passed transferring administration of the scholarship fund from the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA), and shifting the scholarship funds themselves from a designated general revenue fund to a trust fund outside of the Treasury to also be administered by TSBPA. The funds transfer was reversed in the Funds Consolidation Bill at the end of the session, leaving the scholarship administration in the hands of TSBPA but the funds to actually pay for the scholarship in the hands of HECB.
During the current biennium these two agencies were able to work together to issue scholarships to fifth-year accounting students planning to take the CPA exam. Since TSBPA is a non-appropriations agency, in order for scholarships to be available during the next biennium the existing and future funds need to be transferred to the trust fund under TSBPA control. SB 777 and HB 1521 are identical bills to fix this problem. Although neither bill has yet been assigned to a committee, the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures committee has been advised that the bill is in process. TSBPA executive director William Treacy testified at the committee’s Tuesday hearing that the fifth-year scholarship funds were still housed at HECB while the administration was with TSBPA and that the committee could expect to see a bill this session to correct the situation.