Tag Archives: state budget cuts

What Governor Kaine said about community colleges in his budget cutting speech

The following excerpts come from the Governor’s prepared remarks, which you can see by clicking here:

In higher education, our October actions reduced schools’ 2009 base budgets by 5 to 7%. For 2010, I have increased the reductions to 15% for all schools, except the community colleges and Richard Bland, which will have the reduction level increased to 10%.

My introduced budget includes nearly $26 million in additional money for need-based financial aid. This money will bring every institution up to at least 65 percent of the target financial aid level that has been recommended by SCHEV. My introduced budget also includes increases in the Community College Transfer Grant program, helping more students begin their higher educations at a two-year college and then transfer to a four-year institution to get their degree at a lower cost to their families…

While there are many challenges ahead of us, we can look forward with hope. Even in this atmosphere, our excellent schools, colleges and universities produce the ideas and graduates that will keep driving our economy. The advances we have made in career and technical education and our restructuring of workforce efforts under the community college system enable us to better prepare our dedicated workforce. Our international connections through the Port of Virginia and Dulles Airport give us a unique ability to be a leader in global commerce. These strengths and many others of our beloved Commonwealth continue to be our ticket to a prosperous future.

The size and scope of Virginia’s budget problem

In just a few minutes, Governor Tim Kaine will speak to a joint meeting of the General Assembly budget committees.  He is expected to announce cuts to both the state budget and state workforce.

We will blog about the details we learn today with regard to their impact on Virginia’s Community Colleges.

In the press clips this morning, we are learning about the size and scope of the budget challenge.  This was part of the report from Bob Lewis at the Associated Press: 

In his Wednesday morning address to the General Assembly’s money committees, Mr. Kaine will increase the official estimate of the projected budget shortfall through June 2010 to nearly $3 billion, said two Democratic legislative leaders who spoke anonymously because the governor had not made his plans public.

 

In his fourth round of cuts in barely a year, Mr. Kaine will propose about $1.7 billion in cuts on top of nearly $2 billion in earlier reductions spanning two state budgets, the legislators said in separate interviews with the Associated Press.

 

Jeff Shapiro with the Richmond Times-Dispatchis reporting that a cigarette tax hike that is part of Kaine’s plan is almost certain to lead to a fight with the Republican leaders of the House of Delegates:

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s proposal for balancing Virginia’s recession-ravaged budget includes doubling the cigarette tax, delaying an environmental tax break, drawing nearly $500 million from the “rainy-day fund” and pruning 1,500 state jobs, including 530 new layoffs.

 

The package Kaine will detail today, in which he would again go back on a promise not to raise taxes, is drawing criticism from tobacco-industry allies — among them, senior Republicans.

We’ll have more here as the day unfolds.

Virginia leaders differ on higher education spending cuts

There is no joy in Mudville when budget cuts become the focus of a legislative session.  As the General Assembly reaches the mid-point of the scheduled 60-day session, different approaches to how and where additional cuts should be made to the state budget carry significant implications for Virginia’s Community Colleges.

In announcing the commonwealth’s widening budget gap, Governor Tim Kaine proposed cutting higher education budgets after next year:

For the 2009-2010 biennium, the Governor is recommending continued percentage cuts to executive branch agencies at 2% for higher education and 3% for all other agencies.

House Appropriations Chairman, Del. Lacey Putney, in a statement released to the press, says the cuts should instead come from somewhere else in the budget:

[T]here are several strategies proposed by Governor Kaine that we will not adopt, such as additional cuts to higher education, which would merely result in greater tuition increases, hitting middle income Virginians particularly hard.

The eventual compromise that the House, Senate and Governor agree to will have a big impact on Virginia’s Community Colleges, which — according to SCHEV base adequacy calculations — are funded at the lowest level, along with Virginia Tech, among the commonwealth’s public colleges and universities. 

Meanwhile, Virginia’s Community Colleges are serving the vast majority of new college students in Virginia, absorbing 80% of the commonwealth’s enrollment growth.

UPDATE:  In a story in this morning’s Washington Post, high-ranking Republican lawmakers in the House continue to signal that they do not want to further cut the budgets of Virginia’s colleges and universities:

Money to the state’s 16 four-year schools and 23 community colleges was reduced last fall in the state’s first round of budget cuts.

“They took a pretty good hit back in October,” Del. Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport News) said. “I would hope we could avoid another round to higher education.”

Hamilton, vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said he worried that the colleges and universities would have to make up for the cuts by raising tuition and fees.

Posted by Jeff Kraus

Governor’s Budget Reductions Receive Scrutiny in General Assembly Money Committees

Over the last few days, members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee have come to Richmond to be briefed on the September revenue report and receive an overview of the Governor’s budget reduction plan.  During the House Appropriations Committee meeting on Oct. 15, a spirited exchange occurred over the Governor’s  plans to close the $641 million budget shortfall in the current biennium with $300.3 million in budget reductions and other measures including up to $303 million from the Revenue Stabilization or “Rainy Day Fund.”

Any use of the “Rainy Day Fund” must be approved by the General Assembly.  Speaker of the House William Howell and House Appropriations Committee Chair Vincent Callahan had issued a joint press release last week regarding a letter written by Callahan to the Governor and a memorandum from Appropriations staff director Robert Vaughn to Appropriations Committee members.  The correspondence  questioned why $170 million in carry forward dollars had not been used to balance the budget shortfall, and suggested that it could be used to reduce potential reliance on the “Rainy Day Fund.”  Coverage of the meetings is contained in stories from the Times-Dispatch, Daily Press, and Washington Post.

The $170 million carryforward list includes projects and commitments by many of Virginia’s higher education institutions, as legally allowed under the higher education restructuring act which passed the General Assembly in 2005. 

The Senate Finance Committee met today and Senate members had few questions about the Governor’s budget reductions and the September revenue report. 

Reconciling the budget shortfall will be done via the Governor’s “caboose” bill for 2006-2008, which will be released at the same time as the Governor’s biennial budget for 2008-2010, on December 17.  State agencies and higher education institutions are currently completing budget submissions for the next biennium.  Meanwhile, the Governor’s Advisory Board of Economists will be meeting this month to put together the economic forecast upon which 2008-2010 biennial budget revenues will be based.

Posted by Ellen Davenport 

Community colleges tightening their belts

It was a little over a week ago that Governor Tim Kaine made it official that Virginia’s community colleges -along with all of state government – will have to cut about 5 percent from their budgets. Newspapers across the state have asked several community college presidents or staff how they are planning to meet that request. Their answers, in the stories below, are by freezing vacant positions, not creating planned new positions, and by adjusting programs.  Here is what some of our colleges have had to say:

Germanna cuts costs, keeps jobs – Culpeper Star Exponent, 10.5.07
A Southwest Virginia mobile health clinic and several community colleges are affected by state budget cuts – Bristol Herald Courier, 10.4.07
Colleges hurt by budget cuts – Danville Register & Bee, 10.3.07
UVa, PVCC ready to deal with spending reductions – Charlottesville Daily Progress, 10.2.07
College budgets are cut – Martinsville Bulletin, 10.2.07
Colleges forced to cut to meet budget shortfall – Daily Press, 10.2.07
Gov. Kaine to lay off 74 state workers – Daily Press, 10.1.07

Posted by Susan Hayden