UAlbany Budget Updates
Message from President Philip on Mon, Nov 23, 2009
When I last wrote to you on October 20, Governor Paterson had recently unveiled his deficit reduction plan, which called for a $90 million mid-year reduction to SUNY's operating budget. However, the implementation details of the reduction were unclear at the time. As you may know, on November 17 the Board of Trustees approved a plan to distribute the reduction across the respective campuses. At the University at Albany, our "share" of the cut this fiscal year amounts to $4.474 million and will result in an approximately $6.2 million reduction in our 2010-11 budget. This comes on the heels of the $15.5M in state tax reductions we've already experienced since the beginning of FY 2008-09.
We will shortly respond to System Administration with our own plan for implementing the reduction, but I wanted to first inform you of how we will proceed. Fortunately, we anticipated a midyear reduction in our planning and will be able to absorb the cut within our current budget. Your help and cooperation in maintaining fiscal discipline via the soft hiring freeze, forgoing unnecessary travel and delaying equipment purchases has generated savings. These were further enhanced through energy savings and other strategies to develop new sources of revenue. While in some cases painful, I am pleased to report these efforts have helped us accumulate enough reserves to allow us to meet this latest demand without having to further reduce programs or staff.
While this is indeed good news, the State's economy remains weak, and at this point we can not know what the 2010-11 Executive and enacted budgets will hold for us. SUNY is proposing flexibility legislation that would be of great assistance in enhancing our revenues and stabilizing the budget. However, if that does not pass, or we are faced with yet another reduction next year, we will once again be forced to make difficult choices. In any event, we will need to address the recurring nature of the 2009-10 mid-year reduction. As Provost Phillips and I have publicly stated many times, it is inevitable our organizational structure will at some point need to be reconciled with the reality of our reduced financial resources resulting from $21.5 million in state budget cuts over the past two years. I am optimistic the strategic planning process we are about to undertake will prove invaluable in helping us chart that course.
As we enter the holiday season, I wanted to let you know this latest hurdle has been cleared. For the future, we'll hope for the best and plan for the worst, and deal with those challenges the way we always do: with intelligence, energy and a fundamental belief in the greatness of this institution.
Thank you for all you do, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
George M. Philip