Breaking: Lawmakers to discuss higher ed cuts

Two key Republican lawmakers this afternoon will make an announcement about the planned cuts to higher education, and speculation at the Capitol is that they will announce  that the cuts will be lower than expected. That conceivably could spare some of the more Draconian measures discussed over the past two weeks.

Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland) and Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) will meet witih reporters at 2:30 p.m. today to discuss the University System of Georgia’s budget for the coming fiscal  year. Harp and Ehrhart chair the Senate and House subcommittees, respectively, charged with writing the higher education budgets.

Over a pair of budget hearings the past 10 days, the state’s 35 colleges and universities have been told to expect nearly $600 million in cuts to their budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That includes $265 million in cuts as part of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s original budget recommendation, and another $300 million called for by a joint House-Senate budget committee led by Ehrhart and Harp.

Those latest round of cuts have led to recommendations, suggestions or hints that tuition could increase by 77 percent or schools would lay off thousands of employees, close satellite campuses, severely limit incoming freshmen classes and end popular programs, such as a Medical College of Georgia nursing program and the 4-H program run by the University of Georgia.

What exactly Harp and Ehrhart plan to say this afternoon is not immediately known. But it is expected that they will say that the colleges do not need to find $300 million above the governor’s proposed cuts.

105 comments Add your comment

we need the whole story

March 4th, 2010
11:46 am

Let’s hope so. Asking the USG’s cuts to cover 1/3 of the projected shortfall, when their appropriation is only 12% of the total state budget, is illogical and unfair.

Tracy

March 4th, 2010
11:47 am

The banks and the auto industry got a bail out from the federal government. Why not bail out our higher education system? This isn’t only a Georgia problem, but a problem across the US. I can’t think of a better investment.

pj

March 4th, 2010
11:48 am

I was very happy to get an immediate and encouraging response from Senator Harp after sending him an e-mail regarding saving 4-H. I look forward to hearing what he and Rep. Ehrhart say in their announcement. I know a lot of us here in Athens are also concerned about the Botanical Gardens, a place I have enjoyed and utilized for 30 years.

Chris

March 4th, 2010
11:50 am

As a current college I really find it disturbing that they initially target the university system to make the most cuts. Higher education is essential to our soicety and should be viewed upon by our reps. as being essential.

jdawg

March 4th, 2010
11:50 am

I figured this,….when you put on the table the cuts, and your children are at risk….they will not be voted back into office. At some point this state may have to raise something…the downward sprial evidently is not going to stop…the Regents put on the table what most knew would be drastic and now the Reps cannot stand the heat…

University Employee

March 4th, 2010
11:51 am

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-protests4-2010mar04,0,4387493.story

It’s bad everywhere…making an investment in higher education sounds like a great investment

GT Dude

March 4th, 2010
11:55 am

The universities are graduating students and encouraging grads to create jobs through startup ventures as well as increasing the workforce so industry can hire more qualified employees to run the companies that are currently struggling. Cutting budgets to state universities is just making this cycle worse. Cone on lawmakers, use your noggins!!

Tom

March 4th, 2010
11:59 am

Why does UGA run the 4-H program?

Rich

March 4th, 2010
12:01 pm

Tracey – The federal government does not have any money either. Those bailouts, were loans. Maybe not good loans, but loans that are expected to be paid back.

Lindsey

March 4th, 2010
12:03 pm

As a college student at UWG, I can say that these cuts are hitting the students hard. A lot of my friends may lose their majors and will either have to change majors or transfer. Let’s hope the legislatures will realize the huge burden they are putting on these colleges and their students and will somehow find another way to cut budgets.

Zoomie

March 4th, 2010
12:04 pm

Good sign. It would be very nice to hear that the USG will not have to cut an additional $300M.

The recession has put our lawmakers (at every level) in quite a pickle. They can’t raise taxes for fear of alienating the conservative constituency. They can’t cut social programs and entitlements for fear of losing the liberal constituency.

They’re frozen in that beam of light coming from the end of the tunnel — hoping it’s a way out, but knowing it’s probably a train bearing down on them.

Kinda funny, actually!

norman bates

March 4th, 2010
12:06 pm

jdawg you are so very right! I have enjoyed watching those legislators back track on the amount of cuts USG are now going to suffer. When you mess with 4-H and FFA, you are going to get run out of office. That is two areas legislators are scared of.

Paul

March 4th, 2010
12:06 pm

I am with Tom. Why do taxpayers fund 4H through UGA? I know they want more money than UGA provides because the cashier at Kroger asked for 4H money this weekend. What benefit does 4H provide to UGA?

Mid GA Retiree

March 4th, 2010
12:11 pm

Zoomie, those who are still paying taxes have no more left to pay. Those who don’t pay taxes but live off what taxpayers fork out are still wanting more. Now, what is the solution?

Winfield J. Abbe

March 4th, 2010
12:11 pm

Let’s cut the $ 7.7 million for another learning center at UGA. We already have one. Let’s cut the $9 million for the horse ring and the $10 million for the football hall of fame in ATlanta. Cut the new medical school at AThens which could ultimately cost a billion dollars and is unnecessary since we already have three medical schools in Georgia and plenty in the rest of the country.
Let’s cut the bloated and high paid administrative staffs at all the colleges and universities in Georgia.
The UGA president makes over half a million a year. Others do too. This is wasteful and unjustified.
The commercial sports programs are operated on state property but pay no rent and use students like slaves. They must be taxes to about 50 %.
Also , it is obscene for coaches and athletic directors to make all these millions of dollars when others are suffering. End this now.
Abolish all tenure and lifetime employment for all professors in Georgia. No one else in society has lifetime guarenteed jobs. They do not deserve them.
Many of the students, especially graduate students, are from other countries. It is not the responsibility of the taxpayers of Georgia to pay for the education of the rest of the world. Stop this nonsense.
There are thousands of other colleges and universities around the country, most of them better than ours. Return control of our colleges and universities back to citizens for a change. The Board of Regents is totally unfair. Eleven of the 18 members are either UGA graduates or cronies of them.
One could go on and on and on.
Most of these comments are disingenuous selfish ones only seeking to protect the existing soft jobs at state provided colleges and universities. These people don’t care about millions of others in our society, including but not limited to property owners, who are suffering. End this public dole for these people now.

LWells2000

March 4th, 2010
12:15 pm

Come to think of it, why not trim athletics? Uh oh…I’ve stopped preachin and started meddlin huh~ No, really, the time may have just come to place the emphasis where it’s always belonged; on college scholastics instead of athletics.

td

March 4th, 2010
12:16 pm

Where are they going to find this additional money from now? They have tried to leave Education out of drastic cuts for the last three years and have cut the rest of state government down to the bare bones. Education and Medicaid make up 70% of the states budget and the state is more than a billion in the hole. Where else do they cut?

Base

March 4th, 2010
12:20 pm

Political grandstanding at its best.

SKG

March 4th, 2010
12:22 pm

To those asking about why 4-H is funded through UGA: The University of Georgia is a land-grant institution. One of the primary roles of any land-grant institution is to bring research and information generated at the institution to the common people of Georgia – this has been the goal of the Cooperative Extension, a division of the university, since it was founded almost 100 years ago. County extension offices employ agents, who act as liasons between the university (and the research it produces) and the people in the county. There are agents for agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and youth development. 4-H is part of that youth development branch of the extension offices and provides many services for youth in all counties in Georgia, including nutrition programs, leadership training, and many others. In addition, 4-H has served more than 800,000 Georgia students over the past 30 years through environmental education programs (all correlated with Georgia performance standards) across the state.

Another interesting fact about 4-H? Only 20 percent of its budget comes from the university system. 80 percent of its operating costs are generated on its own. If anyone would like to know more about 4-H, visit http://www.georgia4h.org. I hope this clears up any misconceptions – I know a lot of people (through no fault of their own) simply have never heard about all the programs and services 4-H and County Extension offers to the state.

secretmachine24

March 4th, 2010
12:24 pm

Why can’t our leaders make the hard decisions in these hard times? This is evident here and in Washington. This budget shortfall will persist perhaps for years to come because of sustained high unemployment that reduces the revenue of the state. This is simply the next shoe to drop in the economic crisis and we need to be looking at where we can permanently trim our budget and not look for a quick fix. Had our leaders been good stewards of our tax dollars during the boom, we would not be faced with these dramatic displaced taxation measures during the bust and make no mistake this is a tax on university students.I know it is unpopular, but we must raise taxes for everyone and maintain our spending levels, or cut our spending permanently across the board. Preferably we will make the cuts.

KP

March 4th, 2010
12:28 pm

I, like most people, don’t like higher taxes. But I think there comes a point where we need to decide what are the priorities of our state. I think the legislature to this point has done a fairly decent job of cutting spending without raising taxes, but now we’re cutting bone and muscle. We’re cutting our future. You want to know why other states are coming out of the recession faster than Georgia? It’s because they have a better educated workforce. These cuts in education may give us some short term fiscal relief, but it’s going to kill us long term. I think we need to identify our fiscal priorities. In my humble opinion educating our children should be our state’s number one priority, followed by Public Safety, and Transportation.

Cheryl

March 4th, 2010
12:29 pm

It’s important to remember that Athletics is not directly funded from state appropriations, folks! Is $10M of state funding within the University System of Georgia budget being used to build a football hall of fame? Where is that documented?

GTdad

March 4th, 2010
12:30 pm

Getting Sonny to give back the $9 million for a horse arena would be a start. People, you need to look at the budget, lot of pork in there. Lawmakers need to be very careful accepting these pork items. Georgia voters are ready to clean “house, senate, and governor” out of office. We once had a surplus until Governor Perdue.

Cdawgga1

March 4th, 2010
12:32 pm

4-H is one of the nation’s best leadership and skills development program offered to the youth of the nation and the State of Georgia. UGA provides the expertise to effectively teach and train those children. 4-H begins in 5th grade and continues into the collegiate 4-H program. I am a teacher who works closely with our 4-H agents in my school. They come into my classroom once a month and do a great job of providing enrichment to my science standards and giving the students so many extracurricular opportunities that they would never have the opportunity to do. Most of my students are from lower income rural areas but the things that they have the opportunities to do are not just agriculture based. 4-H is so much more than that. One of the biggest things I have noticed is how energized the teen leaders of 4-H are about these proposed cuts. They have banded together to intelligently approached the USG leaders and state representatives and senators about their concerns. They have been respectful and forceful in their views. If 4-H were to be cut, the future leaders of our state would be jeopardized. It would be a shame for Georgia to be the only state in the union with no 4-H program, especially since our program is considered the leading program in the U.S. Keep 4-H…it is well worth it.

David

March 4th, 2010
12:34 pm

Did the shortfall in budgets just vanish? Either the politicians are playing games with us or cuts will be made. I think politicians are playing games with the public.

KP

March 4th, 2010
12:35 pm

GTdad, I agree with you there is some pork in the budget and it should be cut, but its not going to make a multi billion dollar shortfall. I think its time we look on the revenue side of the equation as well. Why not institute a $1.50 tax on cigarettes. This make sense from a cost and moral perspective. Our state incurs higher medicare and medicaid costs that can directly be linked to smoking, and it’s also true that an increase in the cigarette tax has a direct link to a decrease in teen smoking, which will lower our medical cost in the future. I don’t see how this isn’t seen as a win-win

Cheryl

March 4th, 2010
12:36 pm

“They have tried to leave Education out of drastic cuts for the last three years and have cut the rest of state government down to the bare bones” Good point, but let’s be clear that the University System of Georgia has not been left out of cuts prior to this. For example, Georgia Tech had about $37M cut from its resident instruction budget between July 1, 2009 and July 1, 2010 — before this year’s latest round of cuts.

Goober

March 4th, 2010
12:40 pm

The masses are mo’ dumb than me. Close down football and save the budget? Why does UGA run 4-H? Sonny voted out? Too late, his time is up. Where do these folks writing these questions come from?

Rebecca

March 4th, 2010
12:44 pm

Cheryl is absolutely right. The reason this year’s cuts are draconian is because of years of continued budget cuts, leaving many institutions no “fat” to trim. It is high time our legislature discussed tax increases, and this document, from the non-partisan, non-profit Georgia Budget and Policy Institute offers some logical alternatives to this governor and legislature’s “slash and burn” policy. You can read it at http://www.gbpi.org/documents/20100303.pdf

KJ

March 4th, 2010
12:46 pm

AJC, you need to get your story straight. ALL of the proposals so far are the result of an initial fact-finding effort to find the outliers, the bookends, the most extreme measures each school could take to cut their estimated portion of the additional budget cuts. There is no way tuition is going up 77%; there is no way GSU is cutting 620 positions. There will be attrition; there will be compromise, but you have been printing each new proposal as fact in order to drive hits and you are causing confusion and fear among many with your conclusory reporting. We won’t know until April what each school’s actual share is, what the entire additional cut will be, or how schools might go about shouldering their share of the burden. As a grad student, I’ll (semi-)happily pay an increased tuition if it means keeping professors and staff employed.

Curious

March 4th, 2010
12:49 pm

I know we have a lieutenant governor who seems to brag about NOT graduating from college. I wonder how many of the representatives and senators under the gold dome in Atlanta are likewise ignorant of what a university really is and how it functions? Georgia is one of the poorest educated states in the country (no wonder we only attract assembly-plant-type industries). It appears we may also have the poorest educated legislature.

Sonny

March 4th, 2010
12:49 pm

My buddies are feeling the HEAT!!! I’m glad I want be here next year. MY INSIDERS at the gold dome say this is what will be cut above the 265million on the table. a tuition increase of 10% .No more fixed tuition for past years. A 2% cut in salary for any employee over 100,000.00. Stop all capital outlay request at all sites until the economy/funds are there to complete project.Fees will be set by the BOR at a later date. Everything else stays the same.However they know they will be here next year doing the same. SHORT TERM FIX!

td

March 4th, 2010
12:51 pm

GTdad, When Sonny came into office 7 years ago, there was no money in the reserve (rainy day fund). Roy had spent all of the money. Sonny put almost 2 billion in the fund during his first term on the backs of state employees. We have just went through the worst recession in the states history and the revenues coming into the state have went from 21 billion 4 years ago to a projected 15 billion next year. We are not the federal government and can just print money. Our constitution requires we balance our budget each year. Go look back at the budgets for each agency for the past 8 years and you will find the biggest increase in spending has been on education (with higher education receiving a higher % than ever k-12).

Sonny and the legislature have exhausted the rainy day fund, used stimulus money and cut the rest of state government to the bone and barely touched education over the past three years. Education and Medicaid make up 70% of the states budget. The only two choices left are to cut Education or to raise taxes. Which is it going to be?

Let us be realist and not hacks for one political party or the other.

Wally

March 4th, 2010
12:52 pm

Brace yourselves, folks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You’re only seeing that which affects you directly at this time. This state’s economy is NEVER going to recover. Get used to it. The Department of Corrections is where the money is. Ain’t it time we shut some of those south Georgia jobs programs down?

Hayek

March 4th, 2010
12:55 pm

“Asking the USG’s cuts to cover 1/3 of the projected shortfall, when their appropriation is only 12% of the total state budget, is illogical and unfair.”

Not hardly. If a family’s budget falls, it wouldn’t necessarily cut its spending on all things proportionately. Some things would be cut more than the percentage drop in income and others less.

One other point–some areas such as that might be nice to cut or at least consider cutting are off the table because of the strings attached to last year’s stimulus money.

Hayek

March 4th, 2010
12:56 pm

Re KJ’s comment: “ALL of the proposals so far are the result of an initial fact-finding effort to find the outliers, the bookends, the most extreme measures each school could take to cut their estimated portion of the additional budget cuts.”

Yep, it’s the old “close the Washington Monument” strategy. I’m surprised UGA didn’t say it would kill the football program.

Jane

March 4th, 2010
12:59 pm

Any BOR Employee who works for Errol Davis that has not been promoted since he became Chancellor, makes less money today than they did the day he became Chancellor 4 years ago!

ugaprof

March 4th, 2010
1:00 pm

Make UGA athletics pay its own way. It grosses something like $45 million per year, yet UGA pays some salaries and collects an athletic fee from students. The Athletic Association ought to be pouring money into UGA instead of the other way around.

UGA South

March 4th, 2010
1:01 pm

Cuts statewide have to happen. Overlapping agencies, overpriced “intellectual capital” administrators, ineffective state operations, top down downsizing, etc. are where cuts need to come from now. Low level staffers, effective state agencies, and departments that effectively assumed the previous cuts and staff reductions are where the administrators and legislature has continued to focus on with the cuts inordinately. This happens because they know effective and loyal state employees are going to bear as much burden as they can for duration of this recessionary period. But it has come to a point that any further personnel, salary, or funding cuts are crossing a line that forces elemental agencies to forgo their core missions. The state needs its leadership to properly prioritize its mission within all state agencies without the usual political posturing. Tax increases, agency elimination, or other dire consequences may be the consequence, but I believe the people of Georgia would respect honest leadership during this time.

ugaprof

March 4th, 2010
1:01 pm

Regarding high salaries of some UGA employees, I think it’s vital to distinguish between scientists who bring in millions in grants, and administrators who are paid entirely by UGA itself.

gabulldawgs

March 4th, 2010
1:03 pm

Yesterday, the AJC reported:

“Students drove from as far as Augusta, Dalton and Carrollton to attend their first organized event, which they say is a warm-up to a large-scale protest that students from across Georgia are planning for March 15.

“We don’t represent 35 colleges. We represent one body of students. One voice,” said 29-year-old Will Avery, a grad student majoring in history at the University of West Georgia.

Avery, a research assistant, said the proposed cuts could eliminate the funding that pays for his education and supports his family. He’s also seeking a certificate in middle and secondary education, another program potentially on the chopping block at his school, he said.”

A professional student who objects to the end to his taxpayer funded lifestyle. Get a job! Why are we spending tax dollars so a 29 year old can avoid the job market. If that is where our tax money is spent, I say it is time to cut and cut deep.

http://www.ajc.com/news/college-students-protest-proposed-344607.html

Dr. Phil

March 4th, 2010
1:07 pm

Ohio State athletic department donated 100 million dollars to academic programs. UGA donated 1 million. Georgia athletics are wallowing in money while Adams and company cut faculty and academic programs. Cut the chancellor’s and university presidents’ salary by the amount of the tuition increase. They would still be overpaid, and the deficit would vanish. I disagree with Chancellor and Purdue flunkee Davis’ assessment of the presidents being “intellectual property.” I know some of these men, and they are nothing but run of the mill politicians.

NorthGAnative

March 4th, 2010
1:08 pm

You said it, KJ! All options are just being thrown on the table right now. The university presidents were asked how they would cut $300 million from the budget in a last resort situation, and were only given a day to come up with something. So, what is being printed as “fact” right now will absolutely not be the final outcome.

On another note… athletics are in no way paid for by state funds. If you researched how things on any campus are actually paid for, you’d be surprised how little is from state funds. Each university has its own foundation, whose fund-raising efforts provide much more funding to the school than the state could ever manage.

USGcustomer

March 4th, 2010
1:19 pm

Could this heavy hitting of the higher education programs and the USG be because, in our GOP led Capitol they believe it’s run by namby-pamby liberals who don’t vote for them? Well those namby-pambys bite and show up the legislators for the cowards they are.

Ga.resident

March 4th, 2010
1:27 pm

so let me get this straight, they are proposing to
Eliminate programs – which would keep more students from going to colleg and
Increase tuition by up to 77% – which would also limit the number of students able to afford to go to college. So many are already struggling as it is.

This is supposed to increase money to make up for budget cuts ? Maybe we really need to start electing people who care about the people they represent and stop putting people in that are only there to increase their own salaries.

AF

March 4th, 2010
1:34 pm

KJat 12:46.

I think most of us know that the legislature is in a fact finding mode. But, it is important that the public know what types of changes could result from big budget cuts. The AJC is reporting what is happening.

Frankly, I don’t want the politicians making a decision without a lot of input from the citizens. That input is what they get – if those who have a concern post here, write their state representatives, and talk to friends about what is going on.

The worse thing that could happen is that everyone ignore or be ignorant of what the university system would face if huge budget cuts are implemented.

This is good reporting. Thanks AJC.

Aaron Gould Sheinin

March 4th, 2010
1:38 pm

No, AF, thank you! Seriously, thanks.

retiredds

March 4th, 2010
1:39 pm

Has anybody run the numbers to see what it will COST the State of GA for all the laid off people now working, and PAYING taxis on their income, who will file and receive unemployment insurance, which they will be entitled to? And will these cuts then lead to the next round of cuts because of the cost of people becoming unemployed vs working? I would be interested to see if anyone has run those numbers.

Hayek

March 4th, 2010
1:42 pm

@retiredds–You seem to think state employees are a perpetual motion machine. By your logic if everyone was a state employee no one would have to pay taxes.

While laid off people will pay less in taxes that amount is less than their salaries.

UWG Student

March 4th, 2010
1:44 pm

If you’ve studied the absolute uproar from college students, we can assume the politicians are starting to feel the heat. It’s time to take a closer look at what the BOR has been up to now…

Elle

March 4th, 2010
1:53 pm

Does it really cost $500,000 for intellectual capital? I swear I saw some on eBay for $20.00

How does a person determine that what they know is worth a half million dollars per year. They aren’t making products, inventions or revolutionary ideas. They’re not even turning out great students….so how do they justify it?

crusher dawg

March 4th, 2010
2:15 pm

Hopefully they will come to their senses. Thanks to the fools in the legislature some students from Dalton State spent part of their Spring Break in Atlanta trying to find out about their future. Hope that our Representatives and Senators are happy. After all my son received an e-mail from Mr. Harp saying that the budget MUST be cut. Just like that it was stated in all capital letters.

jconservative

March 4th, 2010
2:16 pm

“How does a person determine that what they know is worth a half million dollars per year.”

The marketplace. If you are being paid $250,000 and another school offers you $325,000, then you are worth $325,000. American free enterprise. If you prefer socialism, then we will say that all get the same amount as determined by the State.

What a Mess

March 4th, 2010
2:19 pm

I second that AF. Thank you Aaron for the updates.

It’s important that people know what is going on and it’s important that legislators know the people who vote for and against them are watching.

Here is hoping these legislators see that enough is enough.

We need our colleges and universities to be strong to create the next generations of leaders, business people, scientists, doctors, etc.., on into the future.

GUTTING the future for the expediency of today is nothing short of egoistic individuals looking out for themselves. Again, a modest tax hike to deal with this precedent setting recession would go a long way in shoring up the budget which has been cut to the bone.

Again, ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

bchsp

March 4th, 2010
2:22 pm

The simplest thing to do is raise the gas tax by one cent and add a one dollar tax on a pack of cigarettes. That will bring in more than enough money to handle budget problems, slow down the incidence of lung disease and get a few bucks from those using our highways to head to and from Florida.

Oh, I forgot. It’s a Republican Legislature. Oh, Well!

Carol

March 4th, 2010
2:31 pm

It is the job of the politicians to find the funds we need for education without making educational programs suffer to the extent they are proposing. Senator Seth Harp and others have made statements about cutting the salaries of faculty of schools around the state as one option.The highly dedicated faculty at the school I attend make the same or less than most high school teachers, and we know how underpaid public school teachers are. Maybe we should remind them (politicians) that they could also be facing a pay cut. There are elections coming,and the budget proposals should be carefully considered because the people they are going to effect the most are also the people who are most likely to vote.

Love it.

March 4th, 2010
2:37 pm

I love that you take everything the BOR says as gospel but assume that all the politicians are lying. Shut down 4H – never. Shorten semesters – accreditation issues. Close programs – sure – the ones for underwater basketweaving or other lmiited areas where there are 3-4 students (of course the school would still be required to work those students through to graduation so that doesn’t really save money now anyway). The cuts BOR suggested are laughable political ploys. And they worked.

Hayek

March 4th, 2010
2:41 pm

“…and we know how underpaid public school teachers are.”

I don’t.

UWG Student

March 4th, 2010
2:41 pm

Updates please

ugaprof

March 4th, 2010
2:46 pm

Now is a great time for industry and private universities to hire professors away from UGA.

Concerned dad of college student

March 4th, 2010
2:46 pm

Why not show some leadership and enact a 1% sales tax for 3-5 years to overcome the shortfall? Let’s face no one will feel it. And it doesn’t hurt property owners, or raise income taxes. Plus the “guests of the state”, illegals, will finally have the chance to contribute something, as will those on welfare and food stamps who live off the state and Fed.

Evelyn

March 4th, 2010
2:47 pm

They are already running on shoe string budgets. I have yet to see waste at schools.

UWG Student

March 4th, 2010
2:50 pm

Come on Aaron you have an entire school on pins and needles!

Hayek

March 4th, 2010
2:54 pm

“Why not show some leadership and enact a 1% sales tax for 3-5 years …”

It’ll never go away … pols have a way of making temporary taxes permanent.

UGA Employee

March 4th, 2010
2:54 pm

Any possibility of finding this footage being streamed somewhere? We’re all on the edge of our seats!

[...] Read more from the original source: Breaking: Lawmakers to discuss higher ed cuts | Gold Dome Live [...]

ugaprof

March 4th, 2010
2:56 pm

The reason we professors want tenure is to protect us from legislators who want to hire lots of us one year and fire lots of us the next. Although tenure has some disadvantages, Georgia can’t get rid of it while competing universities still have it, or nobody will want to work here.

D. Pearson

March 4th, 2010
2:56 pm

Press conference was scheduled for 2:30. What’s going on up there?

we need the whole story

March 4th, 2010
2:56 pm

Hayek, I respectfully disagree.
Using your analogy of a personal budget…A tweak of a few items in a personal budget may be all that’s necessary during a small budget shortfall. But in a budget crisis (a job lay-off) ALL items should be reviewed to be reduced or eliminated. GA’s tax coffers are experiencing the equivalent of a catastrophic lay-off!

Barqs

March 4th, 2010
2:58 pm

Hayek – Teachers are waaaayy underpaid. Sure they get good holidays, summer off, yatta, yatta. But during the school year, teachers work 10 – 11 hours a day. Bus duty before school, mandatory meetings that can’t occur during school, supervising after school activities, meetings with parents, grading assignments at home. Not to mention going above and beyond the call buying school supplies out of their paycheck (that’s been significantly cut I might add) because the school system doesn’t have the money, etc.. I’m sure I’ve left something out.

I never realized just how much teachers worked until my wife, at the age of 40, decided she wanted to teach special education students. Let me assure you, it wasn’t for the money.

Hayek

March 4th, 2010
2:59 pm

I agree that all items should be reviewed, but that doesn’t mean that all would be equally reduced. People will cut more (proportionally) from things they consider less essential.

Again, some things like Medicaid that should be part of the discussion are largely off limits b/c of the stimulus strings.

SystemFAIL

March 4th, 2010
3:11 pm

Let me get this straight. Am I correct in understanding that, according to the above story, the General Assembly suddenly found $300 million of the $600 million they claim the universities need to make up? What does THAT tell you?… Keep looking, you scoundrels. I’m sure you’ll find the other $300 million. At least.

old Atlanta

March 4th, 2010
3:17 pm

heard any updates?

SystemFAIL is FAIL

March 4th, 2010
3:19 pm

SystemFAIL doesn’t know his a$$ from mouth. Same stuff comes out of both.

LWells2000

March 4th, 2010
3:19 pm

Goober, your name says it all. I repeat, “…Why not trim athletics? Uh oh…I’ve stopped preachin and started meddlin huh~ No, really, the time may have just come to place the emphasis where it’s always belonged; on college scholastics instead of athletics.”

LWells2000 is ignorant

March 4th, 2010
3:21 pm

LWells2000, why don’t you do the research on the source of the money for athletics at UGA. Hint: It happens in the fall. Why are you so ignorant?

waiting for news

March 4th, 2010
3:23 pm

Dude, are you the only reporter that doesn’t tweet? Where’s the update???

Lundy

March 4th, 2010
3:24 pm

Love it @ 2:37pm. What school did you attend where they had underwater basket weaving? Kindergarten?

USGAin'ttheProblem

March 4th, 2010
3:24 pm

Suprise, suprise, suprise – them thare smarty pants poly ticians found that thare money just floatin round that capital.

USGAin'ttheProblem

March 4th, 2010
3:27 pm

Sonny stepped in…

Governor hammers Legislature for talk of big college cuts
2:53 pm March 4, 2010, by James Salzer

Gov. Sonny Perdue didn’t take kindly to talk this week at the Capitol of massive tuition hikes and new spending cuts in University System of Georgia schools.

“I have been very chagrined at some of the scare tactics and fear mongering that has gone on regarding our university system,” Perdue told reporters at a press conference. “Let me say unequivocally that under my administration, we will not dismantle a world-class university system that we spent over two decades to build up. We are not going to do it through draconian cuts or scare tactics. The university system has taken its share of the cuts.”

He said some of the cuts proposed would “literally destroy the human infrastructure we put in place.

“It’s not going to happen on my watch.”

In the end, Perdue doesn’t think there will be any reduction in admissions at state colleges, something proposed by the University System after lawmakers requested officials propose ways to cut another $300 million in spending. Perdue said there is “room” for the system to raise tuition, although he didn’t list a figure.

But the governor made it clear he didn’t support massive hikes proposed during budget hearings the past two weeks.

“Somebody ought to be asking the question, when are we going to put higher education in the unaffordable category for average middle class parents? That’s what I’m worried about,” he said. “We are going to price kids who ought to be going to college out of the system. We ought to be as much concerned about that as we are about balancing the budget with 50-75 percent tuition increases.”

Sally T.

March 4th, 2010
3:36 pm

Most system staffers are working the job of two workers with less money due to hiring freezes and furloughs. The vast majority of salaries are far lower than those in the private sector. Education is our only hope for a stronger economy and quality of life for everybody in the state. The problem is that there are so many underlying political games – certain legislators wanting to “get back” at high-level people in the Univ system for personal reasons. Many states have some education budget cuts, but not to this extreme – there are other unethical factors going on that have nothing to do with balancing the budget.

ugaprof

March 4th, 2010
3:38 pm

Regarding underpaid teachers, remember, “summer off” means “unemployed three months out of every twelve.” Or, in the case of college teachers, “expected to do research but not paid for three months.” Most people would rather have a 12-month-a-year job.

Bill

March 4th, 2010
3:47 pm

Beautifully executed bait and switch. Threaten $600m in cuts, so everyone is pleased when it is only $300m. If they had started with $300m, they would have had to reduce from there. Cutting 300m is unconscionable. The USG system has already had significant cuts. The USG accounts for about 12% of the state budget. If there is a $1b shortfall, then a $120m cut should be the starting point.

John

March 4th, 2010
3:48 pm

Nothing but lies from them. VOTE THEM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ted Striker

March 4th, 2010
3:50 pm

Good article.

Barqs

March 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

Let’s see, cut an additional $300 million from the USG and potentially add 4000 folks to the already record high Georgia unemployment line to collect unemployment insurance. Hhmmmm……..

USGAin'ttheProblem

March 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

@SallyT: You are right on. With the budget being as tight as it has been over the last several years many positions have been frozen and staffers are taking on the responsibilities of two or more positions without increased pay and without raises (merit or cost of living). In fact, with the furloughs, health insurance premium increases, parking rate increases, and no cost of living increases many employees have “lost” money working for the USG. The USG has certainly taken its fair share of the economic burden. I think folks are focusing on the few folks who earn over $100,000 but there are a lot more on the USG payroll that earn less that are hurting and will hurt even more should a pay cut be instituted across the board. A good percetage of these politicians don’t have a clue how higher education works – why would they, they never attended college themselves. Not everyone needs a college education but the option should be there for those that do. Georgia needs to start valuing education at all levels in order to move its economy forward.

Bill

March 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

PLEASE – Raise my taxes before you do something as stupid as this.

university system employee

March 4th, 2010
4:10 pm

…and lets not leave out the housing allowances, club membership fees, etc. that goes along with those $500,000 salaries at the top…all paid for by the taxpayers of this state. I don’t know about you guys, but if I were bringing in $500k, I could probably afford a house payment and a round or two of golf!

JacketFan

March 4th, 2010
4:20 pm

I just love how all of those not working for the USG or with experience in higher education KNOW better about how higher education works that do those of us with that experience. No, my friends, we aren’t “lying” or “whining” or “exaggerating.” Only 1% of Americans hold PhDs – 3% hold a doctorate or professional degree (JD, DVM, MD, etc). So, yes, we are a rare commodity and one that works educates the 28% of Americans who hold college degrees. We’re responsible for our advances in technology, medicine, law, economics, public policy and cultural development. Our “intellectual capital” is worth more than what those of us in higher education receive. Where would you be without higher education? What kind of job would you have? What kind of company would you work for? How would you spend 40-60 hours of your week without the work of “intellectuals?” You need to think about that before you go spouting off at the mouth about how we’re overpaid, lazy, whiners.

Still waiting

March 4th, 2010
4:39 pm

So where is the report on this press conference? What did they say? It is after 4:30PM

GSU_INsideMan

March 4th, 2010
4:46 pm

As a GSU employee – I have been witness to years of waste.. In particular, with the Information Technology departments. They hire contractors to reorganize to promote incompetent people – then claim it’s innovation. They re-hire retirees, (but only if you’re special) and allow double dipping. Decentralized (i,.e., College of Business, Law, Education, Arts & Sciences) department and central IT purchase redundant systems, services, and people.

Stop your whining and tighten the belt like everyone else.

Don’t take my word – submit an Open Records request to look that the spending… …The current CIO, VP Finance ,and former Provost should all be held accountable.

Sally T.

March 4th, 2010
7:30 pm

Yes, raise my taxes too! YES YES YES!!! Goodbye Tea Party – they tried your mindless plan, and it gets a big F.

Don

March 4th, 2010
8:17 pm

If you want your education, you should be ready to pay for it……. thats right, let the students and or their parents pay the whole bill,,,,,,,,,you bunch of freeloaders

Susan

March 4th, 2010
8:44 pm

To the individual asking why Kroger was asking for more money for 4-H. That is a corporate sponsored program to generate funding to buy new cabins at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center, to assist the center in generating more revenue as it is used with outside user groups. Georgia 4-H Environmental Education Centers (Camps) actually only get 15 percent of their funding from the state, the remaining comes from Private donors, grants, etc.

Chickadee

March 4th, 2010
9:12 pm

I sent emails expressing my concerns about the proposed cuts to more than 10 legislators in key positions, who either represent my district or who are in key positions, asking all to consider the 1% sales tax on food in H.B. 67 which would raise 600 M. and which has protections in it for low income people, and none of them has responded after 7 days. Way to go, legislators. And, if anyone is interested in state salaries, here is the place to find out: http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/searchCriteria.aud

StopThePork

March 4th, 2010
10:17 pm

Why do we have a Georgia Commission on the Holocaust? An Aviation Hall of Fame? A Civil War Commission? A Music Hall of Fame? A Sports Hall of Fame? Why are we building equestrian centers? Why are we building Go Fish projects? Why did the State enter into an IT outsourcing contract which is wasting millions of dollars? State employees aren’t allowed to move a computer down the hall – it takes a payment of a few hundred dollars to the lucky outsourced company. Why has all this been going on while public safety has been routinely cut for years? The Governor and the Legislators need to answer these questions.

Georgiacitizen

March 5th, 2010
6:58 am

The AJC reported on Feb. 25th that Chancellor “Davis could not immediately answer some questions, such as when Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton) asked how many employees of the system have total compensation packages of more than $500,000.”

Please, someone ask Seth Harp, as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, why he has failed to suggest the cutting of over $7million dollars in deferred compensations to his personal friends at USG – but never fails to mention that tuition must be increased. http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2009/10/05/university-execs-deferred-pay-often-hidden-tops-7-million/

GAtaxpayer

March 5th, 2010
7:11 am

The AJC reported on Feb. 25th that Chancellor “Davis could not immediately answer some questions, such as when Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton) asked how many employees of the system have total compensation packages of more than $500,000.”

Please, someone ask Seth Harp, as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, why he has failed to suggest the cutting of over $7million dollars in deferred compensations to his personal friends at USG – but never fails to mention that tuition must be increased.
Budget cuts should start at the top – not with the students! http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2009/10/05/university-execs-deferred-pay-often-hidden-tops-7-million/

SWGA Politics » The State Budget

March 5th, 2010
8:14 am

[...] to try to pressure the General Assembly to not force them to make these cuts. Apparently, at least some in the General Assembly are already [...]

TheUniversityPhantom

March 5th, 2010
5:43 pm

GSU Inside Man, you are SPOT ON-
I was on the inside of IT at Georgia State and the waste was incredible. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were literally wasted-as much as flushing down a toilet. I watched a 250k deal with a big contractor go down, they got paid and they backed out after not even a full week’s work. “Won’t work-they said, and they laughed all the way to the bank. And can you say LUMINIS? Oh, it was to be the greatest application of the computer age. We bought it, on contract, we paid 90k up front and then installments and maintenance-for at least three years, the whole packaged squandered at least 250k…ask a GSU IT employee about Luminis now-it never came out of the package, it was never even put up in a test. I saw MANY big client-server apps purchased that never saw the light of day…it would make you sick.

Ask what the CIO at Georgia State University makes, or look it up yourself. Look at what his mid-level management direct reports make. And yes, there is a retiree there right now with a sweet deal, ironically enough the proponent of LUMINIS-you could ask them and they would deny they ever heard the word.

Georgia State is a black hole of waste, IS&T leads the way. I don’t ask who you are GSU Inside man, but I guarantee we know each other well my friend.

[...] Percentage by which tuition could be increased at state colleges and universities to meet shortfall: 77 [...]

NorthHall

March 8th, 2010
10:29 am

Why the big uproar over 4-H but no uproar over other crazy cuts to K-12 education? Lawmakers are considering chopping the school year from 180 days down to 170 statewide in GA for next year. That’s 2 weeks gone, and a 5.5% pay cut for teachers right off the bat. Then we will have funding cuts at the local county level as well. So Johnny can still be in 4-H, but his 4th grade class now has 35 kids in it, including special ed and ESOL. Test scores are expected to rise even higher this year, with teachers being paid thousands less than years before and classes packed full. Something is not right!

NorthHall

March 8th, 2010
10:40 am

It should be apparent to everyone in GA these days that education has become an easy target. Lawmakers don’t have the you know whats to raise taxes, fees, cigarette taxes, or to even try to find more revenue. The only thing they know how to do is yell “CUT!” and target the group that doesn’t have lobbyist power. That would be K-12 education and now the state university system as well. GA public mental health would be cut too but of course GA is under court order to properly fund our disgraceful mental health program. Perdue wanted to tax hospitals to help pay for the exploding Medicaid bills, but of course that will never happend due to lobbyist power. Same with cigarette taxes. Money talks people. The gold dome is bought and sold to the highest bidder, just like D.C.

Don’t think for a minute that these lawmakers suddenly “found” $300 million to plug the holes. That money is not there. No, they caved to public pressure and made pie in the sky promises, like saving 4-H. So that means other areas will have to face even more cuts.

Teachers in my district were told recently that they might have even MORE furlough days this school year! (already had 6) They have no idea if the recent weather days will be paid or add’l furlough. I also heard that lawmakers want to bring next years education stimulus money into this year’s school budget, which means we will hit the so called “funding cliff” even sooner next year when the stimulus money is all spent. We were told that money is funding 75 teacher jobs in my county, and they already laid off 135 teachers!

Low Paid

March 9th, 2010
12:44 pm

I feel that all the Faculty travel to Paris, Italy, India and all the other place they go should be CUT! And also Administrative Pay (Deans, Chairs, Directors, AND Asst. Deans, Chairs, Directors, etc) they are the ones that get the most pay (6 figures) and not once has this been an option. My university would rather cut custodial and workers and low paid staff just to keep their pockets safe. Also lets not forget about those that need to RETIRE! Let them go and stop paying these folks!