In the last post, I reported on our legislative appropriations requests. I am happy to provide an update on a favorable outcome for our agency and the clients and customers we serve. In action taken by the House/Senate budget conference committee last week, significant new funding was appropriated for our agency. Here is the summary:
- Texas Digital Archive – We requested $900,000 for the biennium to begin the long-overdue process of archiving state agency archives of enduring value in digital format. The conference committee allocated $706,593 to launch this important new project in 2016.
- Shared digital content via TexShare and TexQuest – We sought an additional $6.4 million to purchase additional TexShare and TexQuest database resources. The conference committee provided an additional $6 million, $3.5 for TexShare resources and $2.5 for TexQuest for the 2016-2017 biennium.
- Targeted market salary adjustments – In an effort to be able to effectively recruit and retain qualified staff to support the key mandates of the agencies to serve libraries, archives and the public, we sought $900,000 to provide targeted adjustments to specific positions in the agency. The conference committee allocated $400,000 to TSLAC to address this critical need.
- Government Information Analysts – We requested $400,000 to hire two additional staff to provide support in records management to state and local agencies. This item was not adopted in either the House or Senate budgets.
- CAPPS – CAPPS is an internal system for accounting and payroll from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. We requested $500,000 for this project and that request was fully funded.
- Libraries supporting workforce – We requested $550,000 to provide training and technical assistance to libraries to support workforce and economic development in their communities. This item was not adopted in either the House or Senate budgets.
Of the $9.6 million requested in supplemental funding items this session, $7.6 million was funded, or approximately 80% of our request. We are very pleased to have the resources to effectively serve the information needs of Texans in this increasingly information-based economy. TSLAC experienced deep cuts in state funding in 2011, but two sessions of positive growth have brought us back to about 76% of the state funding level and 87% of the total funding level of 2010-11. Our gains would not have been possible without support from the Texas Library Association, the Texas State Historical Association, and many other groups and individuals across the state who spoke up for the importance of quality library, archives, and records services.
We are looking forward to implementing the new programs and bringing new services to the people of Texas.