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“Challengers” releases in theaters on April 26.
Review: “Challengers”
Published April 13, 2024

U could face up to $86 million in unallotments

No budget deal means the governor will balance the state deficit himself.

The University of Minnesota could receive a 13 percent cut in state funding when Gov. Tim Pawlenty uses his power of unallotment to balance the stateâÄôs budget. The state faces a $6.1 billion budget shortfall in the next two year budget period and will use federal stimulus money to cut that number to $4.7 billion , but without a balanced budget, Pawlenty will cut state funding on his own to balance it. The Republican Governor could cut the UniversityâÄôs budget by about $146 million over two years, which could result in a maximum of 13 percent tuition increases or job cuts of between 400 and 750 University employees, University President Robert Bruininks said before a legislative committee May 16. The reduction estimates are extremes, as cuts will be split among the University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system , University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said. The University will likely split cuts between tuition increases and job cuts, he said. âÄúThe maximum [Pawlenty] could unallot us, because itâÄôs tied in with federal stimulus requirements, is around $86 million,âÄù Pfutzenreuter said. âÄúItâÄôs more likely to be around $73 million.âÄù The Legislative session ended in the early hours of May 19 without a budget deal between Pawlenty and the DFL-controlled Legislature. The governor âÄì an ardent adversary of tax increases – vetoed a $1 billion tax bill that DFLers said would balance the budget. Unallotment âÄì a rarely used tool that entitles Pawlenty to decide who from and how much state funding to cut âÄì will balance a $2.7 billion discrepancy between state spending and projected revenue in the 2010-11 budget years. President Bruininks will submit his budget recommendations on June 12 to the University Board of Regents , who are responsible for voting on the proposed cuts. PawlentyâÄôs action might not affect the 2009-10 budget, which Pfutzenreuter said he must submit by June 12 as well. âÄúIâÄôm speculating, but I donâÄôt think there will be an impact on the first year of the biennium,âÄù he said. âÄúI hope [Pawlenty] acts sooner rather than later so we can set up our budgets.âÄù In order for students to make a difference, students should voice their opinions to legislators, student representative to the Board of Regents, Jordan Bronston said âÄúStudents should be contacting legislature and advocating for appropriations for continued federal funding for Pell grants and financial aid packages,âÄù Bronston said. âÄúAs students, I think the number one thing we can do is voice our opinions.âÄù

Bell Museum

Pawlenty struck down $24 million in funding for a new Bell Museum of Natural History on the St. Paul campus during this Legislative session. This is the second year in a row that the Legislature has passed and Pawlenty has vetoed Bell Museum funding. He vetoed most funding for new building projects from the state bonding bill, preserving funding for repair projects. Bruininks and the Board of Regents will decide whether the University will request funding in future sessions. Regardless, the projectâÄôs planners will continue fundraising efforts, Bell Museum Director Susan Weller said. âÄúMost donors understand that when you are waiting for the state bonding that there will be delays due to politics,âÄù Weller said. âÄúNobody predicted a major recession, economic meltdown âĦ when we started fundraising.âÄù University officials are looking into how much it would cost to repair parts of the aging building where a water main broke around Christmas that could have destroyed an exhibit, Weller said. âÄúWe could be patched up,âÄù Weller said. âÄúItâÄôs not a long term solution to simply put some quick patches on.âÄù Bruininks asked Weller to estimate the cost of repairs to be the old building, should the University decide to pursue that route over bringing the bonding request to the Capitol in future sessions. âÄúIt is awfully hard to raise money for a new building if you donâÄôt know when or if itâÄôs going to happen,âÄù Weller said. âÄúWe need to take the âÄòifâÄô part out of the equation to be successful.âÄù

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