Gov. Butch Otter says a state rule requires State Board of Education approval for funding cuts at universities above $250,000. The fact that that didn't happen is part of the reason he and new UI President Duane Nellis have decided to indefinitely delay the decision on whether to close the Parma Research and Extension Center. The UI is considering closing two or more centers due to the Legislature's approval of budget cuts of $3.2 million in state funding for the Ag Research and Extension Service for the the 2010 budget year, which started July 1. The governor's office said, "The recommendation to close the facility was made by a statewide committee whose 19 members represent diverse backgrounds and interests. The new review phase will build upon the foundational analysis provided by the earlier committee."
Here are links to two audio clips of Otter talking about the issue in Parma yesterday: In the first clip, the governor describes the $250,000 rule. In the second, Otter compares the delay to his decision to give his transportation funding task force until the 2011 legislative session to propose solutions. We purposefully allowed them an extra year so they could look at it and do the right thing. That is exactly what the president and I are talking about,” Otter says, as Nellis can be heard agreeing in the background.