By Jenny Rose
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 12, 2002
Administrators are talking about eliminating programs in anticipation of further cuts in funding from the Arizona State Legislature.
The Provost's Office has remained silent on which programs may be cut, while administrators look to pinch pennies campus-wide.
Department heads have been told to make sound financial decisions that take into account the very real possibility there will be more cuts in state funding in the next few months, said Elizabeth Ervin, vice provost for academic affairs.
"We've said, ĪDon't spend 100 percent. Hold back five percent this year, maybe even five percent next year,'" Ervin said. "We want them to have a cushion so that if cuts come down, we don't have to lay anyone off."
Making the cuts will "likely require program eliminations, mergers, and reorganizations," Provost George Davis stated in a memo sent to UA deans, directors and department heads on Sept. 6. "I cannot stress enough the need for the most stringent fiscal management at every level in the institution during the very difficult year ahead," he added.
The problem is, some of the places UA cut $16.6 million last year ÷ such as cutting money for academic advising and getting permission from the Arizona Board of Regents to close Arizona International College ÷ were budget cuts that can only be made once. UA must restore money for academic advising this year and is running out of temporary cost-cutting methods like closing AIC, yet this year's budget still requires as much of a total budget cut as last year.
And there may be more cuts from the state before the end of the year.
Arizona's July 2002 tax collection figures show Arizona's economy is still in a slump.
State revenues from August were $40 million below expectations.
Arizona has a $65.7 million deficit in this fiscal year, which started two months ago. The state has not seen any job growth over the past ten months, and unemployment is up 1.1 percent.
These figures, plus the projections of a $1 billion shortfall for the state budget, prompted Governor Jane Hull to order her cabinet to cut 10 percent from state institutions. Only K-12 education and the Department of Corrections are safe from further cuts.
While the Provost's Office is preparing the university for another cut in state funding, there have been no immediate warnings of upcoming budget cuts from the governor or Arizona Legislature, said Greg Fahey, associate vice president of government relations.
The UA has been reeling from cuts imposed for the period of last November through May, and university officials have been concentrating on how to best deal with them, Fahey said.
While Gov. Jane Dee Hull has asked her cabinet members to examine the state budget and find ways to trim 10 percent through healthcare and higher education, she has not announced what the cuts on specific institutions may be.
However, chances are good that Hull will call a special session of the Legislature before her term comes to and end, and will use that session to cut UA's budget even more, Fahey said.
"It doesn't look good," he said. "You can see the smoke signals on the horizon. Actually, they're more than smoke signals. You can see the whole forest burning."