The University budget proposal

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said at a Capitol news conference last Friday that lack of jobs was one of the stateâÄôs biggest challenges and that greater investment in research and development are needed. Clearly Anderson Kelliher is willing to help the University of Minnesota. But the University must also help itself. When administrators go to the Legislature this spring they must remember that investment in the education of students is synonymous with an investment in jobs and future research and development. But administrators only get one chance. The nation watched recently as leaders on Capitol Hill turned the automakers away for being unprepared and ostentatious in their requests. The University must look inward and show proof of fiscal responsibility before approaching lawmakers. Top-salaried employees should take voluntary pay cuts and provide evidence to the state that the University deserves appropriations of taxpayer dollars. Additionally, the University must eliminate all unnecessary spending. The University has long been moving toward financial independence for the athletics department , and now is as good a time as any to eliminate their funding from the UniversityâÄôs central budget. President Bob Bruininks estimated the salary freeze announced last month would save the University about $500,000 a year . The time for baby steps is past. The University administration must be willing to make dramatic cuts before they head to the Capitol next year. If Bruininks is prepared to turn out his pockets for the Legislature, letâÄôs make sure theyâÄôre actually empty first.