Perry vetoes $1.5 million in funding for UT Center for Mexican-American Studies

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Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pauses during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, where he announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich. His son Griffin is at left.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

Gov. Rick Perry vetoed part of a bill Friday that would have provided $1.5 million in additional funding for the UT Center for Mexican-American Studies. 

HB 1025, by Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, would have restored some money to the department after massive cuts to its budget during the 2011 legislative session. Multiple higher education institutions across the state would have also received additional money for various programs under the bill. 

“The university did not request this special item in its Legislative Appropriations Request for FY 2014-15,” said Perry in a statement as justification for the veto. “If the Department of Mexican-American Studies is a priority, the university can use its $2.2 million appropriation for Institutional Enhancement.”

Perry said he also vetoed items in HB 1025 to counter a rise in "non-formula" funding at higher education instititions. 

"This is not the best use of hard-earned tax dollars," Perry said. "Because of the growth in special item funding, there is less state money to teach college students, which contributes to rising tuition."

Mexican-American Studies graduate student Jaime Puente said the veto would stunt the growth of the center, which he said had been planning to become a full department with the help of additional funding. 

“Its terrible,” Puente said. “It’s part and parcel of what I think is a concerted effort by Rick Perry to attack the University of Texas. If the center can't fund it's graduate students, it will definitely affect recruitment."

University spokesman Gary Susswein said the University is still reviewing the impact of the vetoes and is not able to issue a statement.