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The Governor Sends OurLeader a Not Too Subtle Message...

puzzled bob.jpg

Really? The Governor Cut Us?
How Could He Do That?

I have pointed out before the foolishness of the Board of Regents in backing OurLeader's request to the legislature for about seventy million additional dollars on top of the already approved request for one hundred and forty million additional dollars.

This request makes us look foolish and greedy.

For background please see the Periodic Table post: Ski-U-Mah? Is that Ojibwe for: "Let them eat cake?"

Some suggestions for cuts that OurLeader might want to think about may be found in the post: Time to put the head back on? Or, we have no money, therefore we must think.

This post also makes it clear how the citizens of the state are becoming increasingly disturbed by the U administration's behavior during this economic crisis - and it is that. Time to wake up Bob?

From MPR comes a report of OurGovernor's opening volley:

Higher education takes a big hit in governor's budget
by Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio,
Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
December 19, 2008

St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget cuts protected K-12 education, but Minnesota's higher education system took a big hit. The governor is reducing appropriations to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System by $40 million dollars.

Gov. Pawlenty says the cuts will be be split equally between the state's two university systems, $20 million from the University of Minnesota and $20 million from MnSCU.

Pawlenty admits the reductions present a challenge to both systems. But he encourages higher education leaders to make the cuts without affecting students.

"These cuts to higher ed are manageable in the context of the crisis that we have without impacting students," said Pawlenty.

Gov. Pawlenty planned to meet with University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks this afternoon to discuss the cuts. The U of M did not make anyone available for comment on the budget reductions.

Beyond the $40 million in cuts to the two University systems, Gov. Pawlenty also plans to cut money used to train medical students in clinics, hospitals and clinics throughout the state. The Medical Education Research Costs account, or MERC, will have more than half of its $51 million a year budget cut. Mary Koppel is a spokesperson with the U of M's Academic Health Center, which uses the account to place medical students in training positions.

"This is the funding that goes to ensure our students and our residents have experience in communities. And if they don't have those experiences here, particularly our residents, they go to other states. And if we lose them from the state of Minnesota, it's harder for us to get them to come back to practice to be the professionals we need them to be," said Koppel.

For Minnesota college students, Gov. Pawlenty's budget cutting won't mean an increase in tuition, at least not now. Tuition rates at both University systems are locked in place through next semester.

But these cuts most likely signal more tight education funding, especially as the state deals with its two year nearly $5 billion budget deficit.

Gov. Pawlenty says his budget cutting offers somewhat of a warning to Minnesota higher education officials as they prepare their budget requests for next year's legislative session. Times are tough and colleges are going to be expected to do more with less.

Hello, Bob, this is really serious. Time to finally show a little leadership rather than whistling in the dark? I repeat here some things that you can do to reduce cash outflow from the university without hurting our fundamental priorities, in order: education, research, new buildings:

1. A ten percent cut in the number of administrators at the U of M.

2. A pay cut of 10% for all U of M employees making more than 250K per year.

3. A pay cut of 5% for all U of M employees making more than 100K per year.

4. No new Bell Museum

5. No new biomedical research buildings

6. No new spending on Northrop auditorium

7. No new spending on MoreU Park

8. The end of Driven to Discover as soon as is legally possible.

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