Overall, the governor's proposed budget for Idaho's colleges and universities next year calls for an additional 1.3 percent cut in general funds, and a 3.5 percent cut in total funds, on top of the much larger cuts universities have seen in the past two years. Among the items for which the governor is not recommending funding: $8.5 million to cover costs of increased student enrollment; $5 million in replacement items; $2.8 million in inflationary adjustments; $4 million in occupancy costs for new buildings; and $2 million for a biomedical research initiative jointly proposed by UI, ISU, BSU and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Boise. Instead, Gov. Otter is calling for a $4 million cut in overall funding to colleges and universities, as part of his budget-balancing cuts to most state agencies.
UI President Duane Nellis told JFAC, “I appreciate the governor's recommendations. It is a cut, but it is still something, I think, with a small fee increase, we probably can manage it.” The problem, he said, is longer-term: The state is on the verge of “long-term negative impacts to the institution and its ability to serve the state,” he said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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