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Universities submit budget proposals

By Cyndy Cole
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 27, 2002

Budget reductions would limit class selections, put research contacts in danger

In a memo sent to the capitol yesterday, UA President Peter Likins said the university would feel long-term effects if Gov. Jane Dee Hull's what-if scenario of cutting more of the UA's budget becomes a reality.

University of Arizona seniors would graduate later, more UA employees would lose their jobs, fewer courses and course sections would be offered and valuable research contracts would be lost, Likins wrote to Hull.

Hull's request to UA administrators is in two parts.

She asked them to lay out a plan for how the UA would fund staff and salary pay raises if the state declined to appropriate funds for the raises.

She also requested a plan for funding those raises without state funding on top of an additional 4 percent cut in UA funding in fiscal year 2003.

The request was made on Feb. 14, and Hull asked all state agencies to reply by Feb. 20.

But the Arizona Board of Regents did not forward responses from university presidents to Hull until yesterday.

"Reductions of this magnitude would have serious consequences on (the ability of) Arizona's universities to meet their mission of instruction, research and service to Arizona citizens."
- Kay McKay
president, Arizona Board of Regents

While Likins declined to give statistical estimates of how the UA would be impacted if the plan were implemented, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University presidents responded that 623 faculty and staff positions would be cut at ASU and 545 at NAU.

More budget cuts, combined with UA paying for employee raises instead of the state, would add up to a 13 percent - or approximately $130 million - budget cut between this year and next, Likins said.

He added that Hull's scenario incorrectly assumes the temporary 4.56 percent - or $15.8 million - cut the UA took this year will automatically continue, and grow into a bigger cut next year.

"Budget reductions will come at the expense of the students," Kay McKay, President of the Arizona Board of Regents, wrote to Hull.

"Reductions of this magnitude would have serious consequences on (the ability of) Arizona's universities to meet their mission of instruction, research and service to Arizona citizens," she said.

If UA, NAU and ASU were to fund their own employee raises, it would come at a cost of $41 million total.

Francie Noyes, Hull's press secretary, said yesterday that the governor does not intend to ask the UA to pay for its own raises coupled with another budget cut - she is only weighing different options for addressing a $1 billion state deficit.

The Legislature has approved state employee raises twice. The increases would cost $125 million.

The requests are only for scenarios, and there are no additional UA budget cuts in place.

Beyond the nearly $16 million that was cut earlier this year, however, Noyes added that Hull thinks it is impossible to balance the budget in 2003 without an additional budget reduction.


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