Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. A few things to share today:
Budget outlook: Public funding for budgets is a front and center topic for many. As we know, the University of Minnesota Extension budget is funded from multiple sources. County government funds account for about 21 per cent of Extensions budget. We are beginning work on the 2012 county budgets and expect the county support funding local programs will remain stable. Federal funds account for approximately 16 % of Extensions budget in Minnesota. The current budget decisions at the Federal level will likely result in a reduction in the Federal funds of about 10 per cent. State appropriations make up about 42 % of the budget for Extension. The Higher Education bill passed by the legislature this year contained significant budget reductions. This bill along with other appropriation and tax bills was vetoed by the Governor. The remaining percentage of Extension's budget is funded through grants, fees etc, including the grant that supports Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education programs.
Government Shutdown possibility: If a Special Session of the legislature does not result in a budget signed by the Governor by June 30, a shutdown of State Government activities will begin July 1. Several of you have asked if and how the University of Minnesota will be impacted by a State Government shutdown. Director of Field Operations Lee Raeth has provided the following response to that question:
A state shutdown will not directly affect Extension and the greater University (unless the shutdown goes for an extended period of time). The University receives State funds in installments - so if the State is shut down for a longer period of time then the next installment is in question. That would mean determining appropriate plans of action. With a short state shutdown we do not anticipate impacts to Extension and Extension employees.
Impact on Programs: Dean Bev Durgan has consistently said that Administration will continue to use budget decision-making principles that support local, regional and state-wide program impact. All of us have a role in continuing to deliver and support quality programs that are important to our audiences.
Phone book listings; Just a reminder for County Support staff to check and make any necessary updates or corrections with the publishers of the various phone books you receive. Guidelines for phone listings for Extension offices can be found at this link.
Extreme Weather response: I also call your attention to the feature on the public website on tornado and wind response resources. Earlier this year flood response was featured, and also publicized through posters each county received. If you still have those posters up in your office area, I would suggest they be taken down. However, keep them handy and available to be posted if and when we again experience flooding in the region.
Lawn and Garden questions: This is the time of year many of our offices receive calls about Yard and Garden questions. Of course, the Extension Master Gardeners are a resource to address these questions. I would also call your attention to the diagnostic tools for weed and insect identification and plant problem diagnosis on the Garden section of the Extension website. Introducing your customers to these tools can help them find the answers to their questions and also introduce them to an access point to University resources.
Have a good weekend,