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PUBLICATIONS Inside Illinois Vol. 21, No. 15, March 7, 2002

Governor's budget address confirms lean year
By Sabryna Cornish, UIC News Bureau

Since last month, university administrators have predicted a decrease in state funding for next year.

That forecast became more likely after Gov. George Ryan unveiled his proposed budget in his State of the State address
Feb. 20.

"I cut 3 percent more out of each agency’s existing budget, for a total 5 percent reduction across the board," Ryan said.

Education fares better than many other areas of state funding, said university officials.

"It appears the governor has tried to protect education as much as possible," said Randy Kangas, director of university planning and budgeting.

However, the effects on the university and its campuses are not yet certain, Kangas said.

Ryan recommended that higher education as a whole receive about $2.6 billion, which is $29.3 million less than the original FY 2002 budget.

Money for several UI building projects was included in Ryan’s budget.

"We are gratified and thrilled with (the governor’s) capital commitments," said UI President James J. Stukel.

Projects in the proposed budget:

  • $73.5 million for Urbana’s Post Genomic Institute
  • $28.8 million for Urbana’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • $18 million to expand Urbana’s Microelectronics Laboratory
  • $25 million for continuing construction of Chicago’s College of Medicine building
  • $57.6 million for construction of an advanced chemical technologies building at Chicago

The university also will receive funding for repairs and renovations, an important part of its deferred maintenance plan.

The UI and other state agencies cut their budgets mid-fiscal year after the state’s finances took a downward turn.

The university trimmed $34 million from its current budget, including $15.2 million at Urbana.

The university was asked to chip in about $24 million to cover employee health care benefits this year; the same request will probably be made next year.

"The University of Illinois understands the great difficulty Gov. Ryan has in constructing a budget that reflects both the essential obligations of Illinois to its people and the realities of the state’s current economy, and I applaud his efforts to strike the right balance," Stukel said.

"We stand ready to manage our share of reduced state revenues brought on by general recession and some specific and unavoidable cost increases."

Ryan’s budget proposal goes to the General Assembly for consideration, then back to Ryan for approval of any changes made by the legislature.

"The first challenge presented by this budget is making sure that state spending fits in with less-than-robust revenue collections that have drained this year’s available resources," Ryan said.

"That means we're going to have to tighten our belts."


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