Regents should deny request for more money from Leg.

by Lisa Zehner

According to a recent Daily report, the Regents are going to vote on whether to request $61.3 million more from the Minnesota Legislature to fund upgrades in mostly building upgrades and a new Bell Museum.This money is in addition to the $141 million increase request the University is already asking from a state that is going to be looking to balance their budget deficit of about $5.2 billion. That’s right, $5.2 billion.

Though the Regents almost always pass anything that comes their way, we urge them to be realistic. The University is unlikely to receive the full $141 million requested, let alone an additional $61.3. Moreover, Pawlenty has made it clear that higher education is not among his top three priorities when considering budget cuts.

The University’s budget will likely get slashed and the administration needs to start preparing now, rather than waiting around to see what happens and then going into panic mode. They obviously have not prepared well. From the Daily article:

"University Vice President of Budget and Finance Richard Pfutzenreuter said he and President Bob Bruininks were already working with various hypothetical economic models in preparation for a cut in funding from the state; the current projection far exceeded anything for which they were planning."

Instead of adequately preparing, the University is crossing its fingers to get more money. Hiring "pauses" (a less negative term to freezes) are not enough, and neither are salary freezes for senior executive positions.