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Monday, December 20, 2010

Regents Face Less Rosy Budget Picture

I noted last week that my current employer, the South Dakota Board of Regents, is projected to receive $54 million more in federal funding in the coming budget year. Under that headline, one may also note that Governor Rounds's otherwise austere budget includes $3.8 million more in state funds.

However, as Bob Mercer reports, those numbers are deceptive. The public university system will likely be tightening its belt (or are we at the budget-cutting point where strait jacket is the more apt metaphor?) just like everyone else. According to Mercer, the governor's plan expects the Regents to take $10.6 million in stimulus dollars and sock it away for FY 2012. As was the case with Rounds's entire budget address, his proposal offers no vision of how or whether the state will make up that funding shortfall when those stimulus dollars finally run out.

Mercer also notes that Governor Rounds included in his budget proposal the 2% pay increase the Regents requested. Our university profs, grounds crews, and other staff would be the only state employees getting a raise. I can certainly make the case for giving our university staff the raises they have foregone for two years... but don't expect anyone in the Legislature's Republican majority to do so.

In their budget discussion last week, the Regents apparently got a timeline for our next governor's budget. Board president Terry Baloun tells Mercer we may see Dennis Daugaard's budget proposal around January 19. Set aside some blog time for that date!

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