Through the convening power of the Greater Arlington Chamber, we bring together businesses, elected officials and leaders to shape the future of greater Arlington. This month, we welcomed Land Commissioner George P. Bush to the Chamber to engage with local business leaders. Since 2015, Commissioner Bush has managed the Texas General Land Office (GLO), the first agency established by the Legislature.
During his visit to the Chamber, the Commissioner stressed the importance of economic development. He believes we have to stay focused on bringing new jobs and companies to Texas to build greater opportunities for our children and grandchildren, and he spoke against political divisions that distract from this mission. The business leaders who attended also listened to Commissioner Bush discuss his many responsibilities including the Texas Permanent School Fund, the Permanent University Fund, the Veterans Land Board and the Alamo.
VETERANS LAND BOARD -The Veterans Land Board operates nine veterans homes which are 120-bed healthcare units with an additional 30 slots for memory care. The 10th veterans home recently broke ground in Fort Worth. The homes are currently transitioning from World War II veterans to Korean War and Vietnam veterans. Commissioner Bush was especially proud of the level of care provided in treating post-traumatic stress disorder including the use of art and equine therapy. To further support our military, the Veterans Land Board has a fund that offers low interest loans to veterans for home purchases and operates four veterans cemeteries in the state.
PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND – The endowment for the Permanent School Fund (PSF) fund was established in 1854 when the Texas Legislature set aside $2 million to fund public education in Texas. The fund is valued at $32 billion and is the second largest in America behind Harvard University. Over the years, state property was added to the fund, and in 1960, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas adding 10.33 miles of coastal land to the PSF. Today, the income from oil and gas leases on property are used to support K-12 education in Texas.
Independent School Districts in Texas can use the PSF as a backstop for their bond debt which helps them borrow at the lowest possible interest rate. Last year, for the first time, the PSF released $600 million to the Legislature to assist with funding HB3, the first major makeover of education funding in decades.
PERMANENT UNIVERSITY FUND – The General Land Office also oversees the income from 2 million acres in the Permian Basin dedicated to higher education in Texas. By statute, five percent of the Permanent University Fund is invested in Texas higher education.
ALAMO – The General Land Office is dedicated to preserving as much of the Alamo as possible. The care of the Alamo was transferred from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to the General Land Office in 2011. Currently, the GLO is preserving the Alamo and restoring the site to the original area of the battlefield in 1836. A monument to the battle Alamo Cenotaph is moving to a new location on the site, and it is the subject of great controversy. To preserve it, the General Land Office contends the monument must be moved.
The Chamber is honored that George P. Bush is invested in the future of the greater Arlington business community. To learn more about how you can support businesses through the Chamber’s public policy initiative, CLICK HERE.