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UA sees budget increase but it falls short of requested funds

Juneau Update: April 22, 2009

The Legislature adjourned Sunday, April 19.

The main issue this year was the FY10 operating budget, for which the University of Alaska system received a $12.9 million increase - 4.1 percent over the current fiscal year. The proposed budget is $14.7 million less than the Board of Regents’ request and $2.2 million less than the Governor’s submitted budget. This level of state general fund support represents a $4.7 million shortfall to our fixed costs. The university president, chancellors and ultimately the board will discuss in the days and weeks ahead how best to address this shortfall.

The budget included $922,000 to support UA’s health training programs and $950,000 for energy related programs.

The capital budget included $3.2 million to address maintaining existing facilities, also known as the annual renewal and renovation (R & R) requirement. The board had requested $50 million for this category of maintenance.

A distribution plan for the capital funds received will be discussed in the days ahead. No funds for the board’s top priorities for new construction, including the UAF Life Sciences Innovation and Learning Facility, the UAS Auke Lake Way Campus Entry Improvements and Road Realignment, or funds to complete the under-way UAA Sports Arena were included.

On behalf of the Board of Regents and President Hamilton, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you for your efforts in supporting the university, our students and programs during the session this year. We’ll continue to work hard to share with legislators, business leaders, prospective students, parents and our K-12 partners about the importance of a strong state university system for Alaska’s future.

Pete Kelly
UA State Relations Director

Juneau Update: April 15, 2009

The Legislative Conference Committee finished its work Tuesday, which essentially finalizes the University of Alaska’s FY10 operating budget as it relates to state general funds.

Within the context of what was available for action from this committee, the university did fairly well.  The committee adopted the House funding proposal for health programs, at $922,000, and the Senate funding proposal for energy, at $950,000.

UA got a number in between the House and Senate for operating costs for the new Conoco Phillips Integrated Science Building, at $1.025 million. The new facility on the UAA campus is scheduled to open for the fall 2009 semester.

UA also received the Senate number for employee salary increases, which was $400,000 less than the Board of Regents’ request. The UA administration will evaluate this action; President Hamilton has indicated he’s considering a freeze on most executive salaries as a result.

A number of legislators supported a workable level of state support for the UA system. Conference committee members in particular deserve thanks for their unanimous vote on the budget resolution.
Please take some time (during a break or your lunch hour if you are a university employee) to thank the following members of the conference committee:

Representative_Mike_Hawker@legis.state.ak.us
Representative_Bill_Stoltze@legis.state.ak.us
Representative_Harry_Crawford@legis.state.ak.us
Senator_Lyman_Hoffman@legis.state.ak.us
Senator_Bert_Stedman@legis.state.ak.us
Senator_Joe_Thomas@legis.state.ak.us

Though she was not on the conference committee, Rep. Anna Fairclough contributed much to the process as university subcommittee chair and deserves our thanks as well. Please send her a note at Representative_Anna_Fairclough@legis.state.ak.us. She took time to meet with university representatives before the session, which set a productive tone for budget discussions.

Click HERE for a complete look at the conference committee budget for UA.

Pete Kelly
UA State Relations Director
 

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