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Strategic Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC)
Strategic Budget Advisory Committee

Shelton: Budget Cuts "Ill-Conceived," Sends Stern Message

January 20, 2009

Reported by: Marc Ybarra - KNXV-TV, Phoenix


University of Arizona President Robert Shelton unleashed a strong attack against the state’s mid-year proposed budget cuts to the three public universities.

Legislators hope to slash $243 million dollars from Arizona State University, U of A and Northern Arizona University.

The Wildcats’ share would be $103 million, which is already on top of a $20 million dollar reduction the college took at the beginning of the year.

“The severity of the cuts being proposed would only serve to prolong the recession, damage the economy further and threaten the state’s future workforce,” Shelton said.

In a video message released Friday, he called the proposed cuts “ill-conceived” and argued the state needs to protect its universities, not dismantle them.

“We are actively engaged with the governor, key legislators and are working to help them understand the central role that the university plays in spurring the economy… and affording access to upward mobility,” he said.

The state of Arizona faces a $1.6 billion dollar shortfall.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State, Jan Brewer, who’s expected to become governor, said she would seek a balanced approach with carefully chosen spending cuts to solve the budget crisis.

“I don’t believe to just go in and chop, chop, chop,” Brewer said during an interview with KAET-TV’s “Horizon” program. “We're running out money. I'm going to go in there and right the ship.”

Brewer, a Republican, will replace Governor Janet Napolitano, assuming she is sworn in as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved.