When it comes to explaining the state budget process, a medieval metaphor suits Charles Leffler, the vice chancellor for finance and business.
“The governor’s budget will run the gauntlet through the Senate and House,” he says. “We’re cautioning everyone to keep in mind that this is a proposal from the governor. It’s a long way from recommendations to action.”
Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget includes full funding for need-based financial aid and enrollment growth, top priorities on the university’s wish list.
Perdue also supports a Board of Governors plan that would allow for campus-initiated tuition increases. It’s an alternative to the legislative plan that would deposit tuition money in the state’s general fund instead of keeping it on campus.
Perdue proposes an additional 3.9 percent in cuts for universities, on top of the approximately 2.4 percent reduction that was already planned for this year.
However, there is one bright spot in Perdue’s proposed cuts, referred to as “management flexibility.”
“What that means is that we get to decide where to make the cuts, which allows us to protect the things that are most important,” Leffler says. “That’s a big difference from the legislature or governor deciding that we should stop a certain program or do away with centers.”
While elected officials work to meet the June 30 deadline, campus leaders will put together scenarios to deal with various levels of cuts. The provost and chancellor will continue to consult with the budget advisory committee and the deans as the process goes forward, Leffler says.
The governor also proposes paying back state employees for last year’s half-percent salary reduction, as well as providing an additional four days of vacation.
Leffler advises waiting until the rough-and-tumble of the next two months is over and the ink is dry on the state budget before booking a vacation with the bonus.
To keep up with budget developments, visit the Budget Central site. Leffler will give a presentation on the budget at the Staff Senate meeting at 9 a.m. on May 5 in the Talley Student Center Walnut Room.