The Budget

The Budget

As you have doubtless read, the governor is proposing large budget cuts that would have far reaching effects if implemented as proposed.  The senate leadership has been in discussions with the administration regarding the budget cuts.  The budget figures are a moving target with a variety of ideas coming and going across the state.  You will be receiving a draft of the principles the senate leadership is proposing to help guide our input as the discussions unfold.  Those principles need your input.  I hadn’t intended to raise this issue until the June Senate meeting where the Interim Provost, Jannet Vreeland will give a brief overview of the budget issues.  However, today the Chancellor released a statement that will surely get your attention along with everyone at the university.  The statement is available to the public at http://system.nevada.edu/05.29.08-Regents-RE-Budget-Cuts-FINA.pdf   You should read it but understand that the solutions proposed are only examples to make clear the possible magnitude of a proposed 14% if it were not strategically considered.  That said, if cuts were implemented as described at this point it would be disastrous.

It is time to takes these issues very seriously.  However, many scenarios could significantly change the landscape.  Among the things not known are whether there will be a special session of the legislature or whether any events in the fall state election will lead to any reforms in the tax structure. Of course, no one knows when the business cycle will improve.  However, at this point there is little doubt that we are facing difficult times.

I have two points I want to make.  First, so far the administration has been open and collaborative in discussing the budget.  This is a gratifying affirmation of our earlier experiences during budget talks.  I expect that to continue.  Second, this is a time for the senate itself to represent our constituents.  All kinds of budget information and misinformation will be in the press.  Some will be accurate and much will be premature or out of context.  The senate is a representative body.  Senators should establish and maintain open communications with constituents so that they will turn to you for accurate information when it would be easy to become strident or stressed.  From time to time I will send announcements and information to the entire faculty.
Let me say as Chair, the new Executive Board has been providing thoughtful counsel.  As the discussions continue, some conversations will be confidential as unedited ideas are floated for discussion.  These include conversations with administrators, the Executive Board, and Regents.  Others will be open and widely shared.  These are trying, threatening times.  I appreciate advice and value your support.  More will follow.



3 Responses to “The Budget”

  1.   jstrauss Says:

    Bill, thanks for your leadership, advice re: our constituents, and for keeping us informed. /Judy Strauss

  2.   sigmangrantm Says:

    In relation to our discussion about budget cuts and what might need to be strategically eliminated, there is a process, entitled public value, that helps to capture the impacts of an entity upon the public section beyond the obvious. Given the very short turn-around time to make decisions, it might not be a useful tool at this time. However, it might be benifical to consider investigating for future use. I have some handouts I could share regarding the process, if someone wishes to pursue. Madeleine

  3.   bfollette Says:

    I would be very pleased to see handlouts you might have. In my field program evaluation of a particular variety approximates, I suspect, the Cole & Parston approach, but, as you said, is very time-consuming. Still, it would be nice if we in the academy could bring some of our expertise into the discussions.

    Bill Follette

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