UA officials to cut budget by $14 million
Friday September 7, 2001
Gov. Hull wants reduction recommendations by end of month
UA officials have begun discussing how the university can slash nearly $14 million from its budget for the 2002 fiscal year.
The talks come as the result of a request made Wednesday by Gov. Jane Dee Hull to cut 4 percent from the budgets of all state agencies, including the University of Arizona.
Hull, who released the order while meeting with President Bush in Washington, D.C., told state leaders in a letter that lower-than-expected tax revenues and a drop in job growth have caused a need to tighten the budget.
"You were given a 'lump sum budget' by the legislature. Now it is time to use our management skills to address the shortfall," Hull's letter stated.
Greg Fahey, UA vice president of government relations, said UA President Peter Likins has begun conferring with university officials such as members of the Faculty Senate and his cabinet.
Fahey explained that the order from the governor is merely a call to reassess the budget, and the 4 percent figure is only preliminary.
"We most likely will see a cut of some kind," he said. "But right now, the governor is simply trying to figure out what is feasible."
The amount in question is just under $350 million - the university's state allocated budget for 2002, before tuition - which means a 4 percent cut would result in a trimming of nearly $14 million in spending.
Fahey said Likins has not indicated he will look toward a tuition increase to make up the shortfall caused by a potential cut.
Arizona Students' Association, a student lobbyist group, expressed concern over the governor's proposal at Wednesday night's Associated Students of the University of Arizona meeting.
Associated Students President Ray Quintero fought against tuition increases last year while serving as ASA president.
"I think the (proposal) is definitely going to be in the back of (the regents') minds when they are deciding on tuition hikes," Quintero said.
He said once students express their concerns at a forum Thursday, ASA and ASUA will actively begin exploring the issue.
The governor, Fahey said, would like to see numbers and recommendations to the inquiry on her desk in a couple weeks, but he said she realizes the UA is a large, complex entity which may cause university officials to take longer.
Fahey said no real decisions have been made yet as to where the money would come from, but that UA employees should not worry about layoffs.
A special session of the legislature, planned for November, will focus on budget reductions, and the governor said in her statement Wednesday that "tax hikes and accounting gimmicks are off the table."
In addition, she said that despite the state's economic slowdown, conditions are not dismal enough to open up Arizona's Budget Stabilization - or so-called "Rainy Day" - fund.
Therefore, budget readjustments will be the key to diminishing the shortfall.
"We want to know what the downsides are and try to find a way to not hurt the university system," Fahey said.