Tag Archives: Budget troubles

It’s time, Mr. President: End this “world class” charade

By Shain Bergan

When UA News released this video last week of University of Arizona President Robert Shelton “on the issues”, it was met with little to no fanfare, or even rather no recognition. It’s not hard to see why; there is certainly a lion’s share of routine talking points and the usual stock quotes to which we’ve all become way too accustomed since the initial memo announcing the beginning of the UA Transformation Process hit the presses in September 2008.

You know them—they string together phrases like “world-class institution” and “quality education” as if anyone is really buying that the mass reorganization, consolidation and cutting of UA programs nearly across the board are making us into a better university full of better students who will become better people to create a better world following their UA edification.

The video is almost a perfect summation of the what the UA faculty and students have been damn angry about for almost two years now—the inability of the university leaders to just admit that we’re all screwed.

I get it. Times are tough. It’s difficult to run a university when the state slashes $100 million out from under you. But please, Mr. President and Ms. Provost, call it what it is. It’s not “maintaining a quality education”; it’s trying to make sure that at least some quality is left following cuts and tuition hikes unprecedented in Arizona’s educational history. Students aren’t children anymore; neither are the faculty members. It’s time to fess up and admit what everyone already knows—that the actual “quality” of that piece of paper you get following graduation isn’t what it used to be…and it’s only going to get worse in Arizona.

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Sales tax sent to voters…Will you vote yourself a tax increase?

Against all odds, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill that will give voters the choice on May 18 of whether or not they want to approve Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed one-cent temporary sales tax.

The sales tax was originally proposed in order to help offset the multi-billion dollar shortfall that is currently plaguing the state’s budget, both for FY 2010 and FY2011.

In a surprising show of bipartisan effort, the House passed the tax bill by a vote of 34-25, a much wider margin than its passing through the Arizona Senate, 16-12.

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Standoff between House and Senate may endanger May sales tax special election

The State Senate passed a bill by the slimmest of possible margins (16-12 in a 30-seat chamber where a majority vote is needed) to approve a May 18 special election where Arizona voters would decide the fate of Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed one-cent temporary sales tax.

The bill made it to the Senate after being approved by a Senate committee on Tuesday. The bill now moves on to the House, where a majority vote is needed by Feb. 16 to make the May vote a reality, according to this story in the Arizona Daily Star.

The WatchCat’s take: Whereas many State senators reached across party lines to pass the bill (barely), the House Continue reading

Another round of UA Transformation cuts is all but certain at this point

Kudos to the Arizona Daily Star’s Becky Pallack for this report on how the University of Arizona would approach another round of budget cuts, if such a realization became reality (also check out Pallack’s blog, The Campus Correspondent, which is conveniently located on the WatchCat’s blogroll).

Pallack includes this toward the end of her post:

“With all of that in mind, the UA’s strategy for budget planning goes like this:

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State sales tax to be voted on in May (pending Senate approval)

Perhaps we may actually approach FY 2011 with some kind of pre-plan from FY2010…

The muchfrettedover current state budget crisis has had some twists and turns, but this may actually be a positive one.

An Arizona Senate committee has apparently voted to settle Gov. Jan Brewer’s call for a temporary additional 1-cent sales tax with the voters. The committee set a May 18 special election to let the voters decide if ponying up an extra cent is worth putting some kind of dent in the crisis that has held the state of Arizona captive since the Summer of 2009. Continue reading

Others recycling news; The UA got off easy at ABOR

  • Trust no one…except the WatchCat

Apologies for the wait on the 2nd day of the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the Arizona State University West campus. We wanted to wait to see the two-cents input from other news outlets (although there doesn’t seem to be anything here) on a Friday meeting that clearly only focused on ASU’s “strategic business plan” (In more pressing news, ASU President Michael Crow is apparently also the unflappable Bill Belichick—who knew?!)

Well anyway, the reason we didn’t report on this and this is simple—We already have!! Three times!!! Besides, look at this and this—the same thing, right? That’s what we said! Apparently no one picked up on it, though (except the good ol’ WatchCat News-Journal). Talk about ABOR (and others) recycling news. Check out the stats (links) on financial aid and enrollment statistics for yourself if you wish. They are mildly interesting.

  • I mean, uh, do we even have one?

So ASU presented the Regents with its strategic business plan. Apparently ASU drew the short straw, because neither Continue reading

ABOR, Day 1: The conflict between tuition and financial aid

A rather thin meeting in terms of content, but worthwhile nonetheless.

In the fashion that has become so popular as of late, the Arizona Board of Regents decided the “blame others first, do something later” approach to Arizona’s budget problems is right up their alley.

  • So what do you want? Lower tuition or more financial aid?

About halfway through Thursday’s Regents meeting, ABOR Chief Financial Officer Sandy Woodley and Regent Robert Bulla entered in a fundamental argument exchange with one another. After filleting the State of Arizona for not supplying the universities with enough money to run quality institutions, the Board switched gears (well not really, but kind of), with Regent Fred Boice saying, “I don’t think tuition should be impacted by family income, big or small.” The job of worrying about paying for college, he said, lies with financial aid.

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