ASUA's budget on hold until approval

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It could be Rthree strikes, youUre outS for ASUAUs $535,600 dollar budget, since stipulations made by the graduate council will not be included in the third version of the budget, according to the ASUA president.

GPSC President Mitzi Forbes has said the council will not approve the budget until a $5,000 line item is included to cover the price of a fiscal-year-end audit. GPSC members also said that the discretionary budgets of the president and vice presidents should be controlled by the Budget Advisory Committee.

Until the budget is approved by the Graduate and Professional Student Council and the Undergraduate Senate, no one can spend money from the $535,600 budget except Associated Students of the University of Arizona President T.J. Trujillo, who must first approve all expenditures.

RIt is in the best interest of GPSC [and Senate] members to cooperate in the budget process,S Trujillo said. RIf a budget cannot be approved, it leaves me complete discretionary power over the budget.S

Trujillo said that since he no longer has veto power, fiscal power is his only control over the legislative branch.

He said he plans to proceed according to the third draft of the budget he submitted Friday and added that if the GPSC continues to delay the budget, they may encounter difficulty getting funds approved for their events.

RWe donUt have time to waste with internal factions,S he said. RWe need to either agree or disagree on this and just move on.S

Trujillo said he will not agree to include these stipulations in the budget.

RIt is absurd to even suggest that we need to be audited because of the possibility of fraud,S Trujillo said, adding that every expenditure needs three signatures and is followed by two separate internal verification processes. He said that this is also the first full year with an accountant and a treasurer, which will allow finances to be more closely monitored than in the past.

Trujillo said he could think of many better ways to spend $5,000 of ASUA’s money than on an audit. He said randomly distributing $1 bills to 5,000 students to buy candy bars would be a better idea.

Since the students elected the president and vice presidents, they should be allowed to use the responsibility they earned from the student body, Trujillo said. He said he would not agree to have ASUA budgets monitored by the Budget Advisory Committee because it would “add to the bureaucracy.”

“When I ran for office I said I wanted to streamline things, and this would definitely be a step in the wrong direction,” he said.

The Budget Advisory Committee is an internal ASUA fiscal watchdog group, made up of GPSC and Senate members.

Members of the Senate voted 5-0 last week against funding an audit. The Senate also rejected the suggestion that the president’s discretionary budget should be monitored by the Budget Advisory Committee, but agreed that at least part of the vice presidents’ budgets should be monitored.

The budget will come up for vote Wednesday at the Senate and GPSC meetings.

According to Senate Chairman Brad Milligan, the Senate will approve the budget submitted Friday.

If the Senate approves the budget and at least one GPSC member votes in favor of it, the Central Coordinating Council will then vote on it and GPSC approval would not be required, Trujillo said. However, the GPSC has voted unanimously against the first two versions of the budget.

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