Gov. Ducey proposes budget reductions for universities and community colleges

Gov. Ducey proposes budget reductions for universities and community colleges

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's new budget plan released on Friday lays out how he will deal with an estimated $1 billion shortfall.

The governor says his proposal will mean a balanced budget by 2017.

It's a budget that cuts funding in several areas, including the state's three universities and the community colleges. It shifts public education spending to K through 12 classrooms from non-classroom areas.

The proposal would increase funding for prisons.

The proposal calls for a $77 million reduction for the universities.

The University of Arizona's budget alone would fall by $21.6 million dollars.

Community colleges would see $10 million trimmed from their budgets.

The governor's proposed budget would sweep the bank accounts of certain state agencies and dip into the rainy day fund.

One thing not in the governor's budget is the court-ordered payments to schools. 

Arizona already is among the states that spend the least on education.

While education funding is on the chopping block, one place the governor wants to increase spending is on prisons.

He proposes adding about five percent to the Arizona Department of Corrections, sending its budget to more than one billion dollars.

Gov. Ducey has said he did not want to raise taxes. However, by sweeping the budgets of certain agencies and cutting funds to local governments, universities and community colleges, the question is how those entities will make ends meet without increasing taxes or tuition.

Legislative budget hearings begin on Jan. 27.

See Gov. Ducey's full budget here:

The following statement was issued on Friday by University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart in response to the budget proposal released by Gov. Doug Ducey:

"Governor Ducey has a difficult job before him. Given the slow pace of the economic recovery in Arizona and increased needs, Arizona faces more years of financial constraints.

The University of Arizona is part of the solution. We are educating our students for the next generation of jobs, some of which do not exist today, and our research is helping to build a varied and vital economy for Arizona.

We will be taking the next several days to determine what we would have to do to meet the governor's budget and what we would recommend. Whatever we do we will focus on decisions that advance the University of Arizona's core mission and qualities to maximize the benefit to the state of Arizona. We will reduce peripheral activities and protect our core, paying particular attention to academic quality and student services. We will move with even greater energy to develop partnerships like the pending Banner Health relationship, more activities under the auspices of Tech Launch Arizona, more business and industry partnerships, and increased philanthropy.

These tough decisions will not be easy, but it is not easy for anyone. We all understand and appreciate that these tough decisions cannot be without consequences. ALL Arizonans will need to have serious discussions about what the long-term structural solutions look like. This will alter our course and reduce the field of liberty in which we make decisions about the future structure and operations of the University of Arizona. In short, we will be reshaping the future for outcomes — not just expenditures — as we will not conduct business as usual."

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