Friday, February 27, 2015
The Governor’s office released its FY 16 Executive Budget today to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. The proposed budget includes $567 million in State General Fund reductions to higher education, equating to a historic 78% cut to Louisiana’s public colleges and universities.
While the Executive Budget proposes promising recurring solutions to help mitigate the higher education cut, there is no doubt that this transformational shift in the way higher education is funded by the state requires an equally transformational solution. We have to be open and willing to look at ideas that move LSU’s funding from one dependent upon short-term, incremental financing to one in which LSU increasingly takes control of its future. Our students, their parents, our alumni and donors are counting on us to meet this challenge head on and continue to embrace new and creative solutions.
While we support the Governor’s proposals to help offset much of the reductions, we also have to take the initiative to identify and support LSU-specific solutions so that we remain nationally competitive. It is clear that the proposed higher education budget cut requires that we accelerate efforts to change our funding model. We started that process with the implementation of structural changes in the University’s organizational model and operational autonomies in risk management and purchasing that are generating recurring savings. A significant part of the long-term solution for LSU’s future is gaining additional control over institutional operations. Having greater autonomy over fee revenue and operational areas across the institution such as risk management, purchasing, benefits and construction projects will allow us to protect our obligations to our faculty and staff, stabilize revenues and realize savings that can be directed to our highest priorities of enhancing the quality of education, advancing innovative research and solving Louisiana’s most pressing problems. These autonomies, coupled with the commitment of recurring revenue for higher education generated from changes in state tax credits, would significantly improve the long-term stability and predictability of funding for LSU.
In the coming weeks, through the LSU Budget Hub website and email communication, we will keep you informed of the budget process.
Together, we will chart a path that solidifies our future. Thank you for all you do for LSU.
F. King Alexander