COMMERCE - Administrators at Texas A&M University-Commerce are among staff at dozens of state agencies working to identify reductions in its next biennial budget, as requested last month by Gov. Rick Perry.
The proposal directs these agencies to cut 10 percent in general revenue-related funding of its budget for 2014-2015, in five percent increments.
“The instructions from the state’s leadership indicated it would be 10 percent of non-formula appropriations. And so that’s just roughly around $550,000 for A&M-Commerce,” said Bob Brown, vice president for Business and Administration.
Here’s a link to the Governor’s letter to state agencies on June 4 requesting the budget reduction.
Perry formally addressed the topic during a discussion on the economy June 5 in San Antonio, as his office website reads:
"Every two years, state leaders and agencies take a fresh look at our budget to ensure each taxpayer dollar is spent efficiently by our state government to keep Texas the best place to live, work, raise a family and start a business," Gov. Perry said. "Identifying potential savings early in the budget process reiterates our ongoing commitment to the responsible fiscal policies that have made Texas the epicenter of job creation in the U.S., including keeping our taxes low, spending in check and government running efficiently."
Vice President Brown says preliminary discussions have been held about developing a strategy toward meeting that $550,000 price tag.
Officials feel this can be done largely through “changes to our utility usage and through some operations we have in our facilities, so that we don’t impact either the educational process, our ability to teach, or our ability to counsel and provide guidance to students.”
Lawmakers will ultimately decide what, if any, spending reductions will be made when the next session begins in January.
“Even if we go through this exercise and the state does not require the budget reduction, we’ll be a smarter and better institution for having made these other changes,” Brown added.
Cost-cutting by the Legislature last year led to a $4 billion reduction in education spending to help balance the budget.
For A&M-Commerce, the FY 2012-2013 budget was cut by less than $2.5 million based on recommendations by the Budget Review and Development Council to reduce reliance on adjunct professors, increase select fees in distance education, technology and enhancement and renegotiate service contracts.
"The first thing they did not recommend was a mass layoff," Brown said during a February 2011 address to faculty and staff.
On Tuesday, Brown told KETR that the first priority of A&M-Commerce is to protect the core mission of the institution, and that the faculty’s ability to be in front of students in significant ways is the primary responsibility of the institution, so “we stay away from that [budget reductions] if we can at any costs.”