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UA to face $16 million in cuts

By Cyndy Cole
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Jan. 9, 2002

Administrators unsure how to shave more than 4.5 percent from university budget

UA is facing close to $2 million more in budget cuts than officials were expecting.

Republican Gov. Jane Dee Hull and the state Legislature finalized the state budget in December, cutting University of Arizona funding by $15.8 million, or 4.56 percent. UA officials had previously been expecting the Legislature to limit the cuts to 4 percent.

The cut in state-allocated funds applies to this year, but UA employees will still receive pay increases in April or at least 5 percent. These raises - which apply to all state employees - had been in jeopardy after Hull proposed cutting them.

"While we don't enjoy getting a half percent larger cut, we're glad to keep the salary increase," said Greg Fahey, associate vice president for government relations.

The budget cut took place in two steps. First, the Legislature agreed to a four percent, or $13.9 million cut; after negotiation behind closed doors however, the cut was increased, Fahey said.

UA President Peter Likins said he and his cabinet have yet to identify where they will cut the additional $1.9 million.

While avoiding specifics, Likins said that finding places to make the extra cuts will be a painful process and warned that because the total cuts exceeded 4 percent, long-term damage to the UA will result.

The university-wide hiring freeze, which requires a vice president's signature to fill a vacant position, will continue as a result of the larger-than-expected budget cut. Likins had said the hiring freeze would have ended if the cuts had remained at 4 percent.

So far deans and administrators have made plans for cuts university-wide that would reduce the budget by about $4 million, and had been planning to cut $13.9 million.

Those $4 million come from a variety of sources, including the closure of Arizona International College, and funding cuts to the Integrated Learning Center, academic advising, Campaign Arizona and individual administrators' budgets.

Administrators are pleased, however, that the salary increases for all public employees will be implemented as planned.

Though presidents from the three public universities did not have any choice about the size of the budget cuts, Likins said he is glad to take a larger budget cut if it means ensuring UA employees receive salary increases.

"If I were a legislator, I would have made the same choice," Likins said.

The Legislature has only made cuts to this year's budget. Lawmakers will meet in a session that begins Monday to identify cuts for next year.

Likins and other administrators have said they expect next year's cuts to be larger than this year's but hope that full funding will be restored by 2004.

Daniel Scarpinato contributed to this report.


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