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ERIC Number: EJ838648
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar-27
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
At the University of Arizona, Goals Collide with Reality
Kelderman, Eric
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n29 pA1 Mar 2009
To be at the University of Arizona these days is, in some ways, to be under siege. The flagship university in one of the nation's fastest-growing states may have to eliminate some 600 jobs and merge dozens of programs to deal with two rounds of budget cuts imposed since June. Now the governor is telling the university and other state agencies to prepare for cuts of as much as 20 percent for the next fiscal year. Last summer the university was already looking for ways to significantly overhaul its operations, but those changes alone won't be enough to offset the reductions in state aid. Campus leaders feel that their core mission is at stake as they struggle to make a case for the research university to a governor and key legislators, many of whom have found success in life without having earned four-year degrees. Arizona is hardly alone in facing tough choices. The extent of the economic troubles Arizona faces, however, is extraordinary. The revenue shortfall for the 2009-2010 budget is estimated to be 28 percent of the state's general fund, the second-highest percentage gap in the nation, behind Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. State-tax revenue in Arizona is not expected to rebound to 2007-2008 levels until the 2011-2012 fiscal year. So far the state's universities have taken more than their share of budgetary pain. At the beginning of this fiscal year, lawmakers trimmed nearly 5 percent from the higher-education budget. Then, facing a midyear gap of $1.6-billion in January, they cut an additional 13 percent, or $141-million, from the state's three public universities, the largest dollar reduction from any one part of the state budget. The estimated budget gap for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, is $3-billion. One problem with the state's finances is that more than 45 percent of its revenue comes from sales taxes, which are normally bolstered by large numbers of tourists and by retirees. That proportion jumps to nearly 60 percent when levies on alcohol, insurance premiums, and amusements like movies or sporting events are included. Consumer retrenchment has hit the state hard: Sales-tax revenue was down 16 percent in December from the same month the year before and is more than 10 percent lower for the first six months of the budget year. In the face of Arizona's economic struggles, legislators from both parties say there is no choice but to make sacrifices.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona