CONTACT: STEVE PARROTT
101 Jessup Hall
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-0552; fax (319) 335-0558
Release: May 22, 2002
Coleman: budget proposal for FY03 is 'lose-lose'
proposition for UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa - A legislative proposal that underfunds
salary increases in the general education fund at The University of Iowa by
about $12 million presents a "lose-lose" situation that pits competitive
salaries needed to retain top faculty members against funding for educational
programs, President Mary Sue Coleman said today. In either case, the quality of the university's educational
offerings is compromised.
Coleman and other university officials also expressed
profound reservations about a legislative proposal to further slash funding
for key economic development programs.
"Following a budget year in which we lost more
than $38 million in state support for the entire university, we are facing
additional reductions and underfunding of $21 million in state support for
the general education fund for the coming fiscal year," Coleman noted.
"The governor has already signed legislation that cuts next year's University
of Iowa operating budget by $9 million. The legislative proposal would add
$12 million of salary underfunding on top of that.
"This presents us with a lose-lose situation. If
we don't provide competitive salary increases, we risk losing more of our
best faculty members to other universities or private business," she
added. "Because our faculty are the heart and soul of the quality of
our education, this is a serious problem both in the short term and in the
long term. It also has consequences for patient care because faculty in our
College of Medicine are also the physicians who treat patients in UI Hospitals
and Clinics. Iowans deserve to be treated by the best doctors.
"On the other hand, if we do give competitive pay
increases, we will have to carve those funds out of our already depleted operating
budget," Coleman continued. "This will imperil not only initiatives
to improve education, but it will also mean that we will have fewer course
offerings and higher student-to-faculty ratios. Both of these scenarios put
the quality of our education at risk."
UI officials noted that the current legislative proposal
would reduce the funding for salary increases to all state employees from
$41 million to $8 million. The UI estimates, based on historical allocations,
that the general education fund would receive about $1.8 million of the $8
million. However, the general education fund needs about $12 million to fund
the salary increases legislatively mandated. Up to this point the university
has eliminated 247 positions, closed programs, suspended admissions to programs
as well as made numerous other cuts. Additional cuts, yet to be determined,
will be required to implement the $21 million dollar shortfall proposed by
Under the budget proposal announced by the majority
party legislative leadership on Tuesday, funding for the Oakdale Research
Park, the Technology Innovation Center and the Center for Advanced Drug Development
would be cut by 56 percent from the FY02 appropriation.
"One of the things that Iowa citizens and the business
community expect from the university is to work hand-in-hand with the private
and public sectors on economic development for the entire state. Particularly
in difficult economic times, budget cuts of this magnitude are short sighted,"
said David Skorton, vice president for research and external relations. "We
are concerned about the message the cuts send to entrepreneurs and to business
people around the country interested in doing business in Iowa.
"These economic development programs have a long
track record of taking university research and translating that into new jobs
for Iowans. We will not be able to sustain those efforts with this budget
cut," Skorton added. "We have business and ethical obligations to
our affiliates which we will choose to honor. Similarly, we have obligations
to the entire state to do what we can to improve the economic climate. We
will face some difficult choices next spring if the budgets are not restored.
"Growing the pharmaceutical industry in Iowa has
been a long-standing goal of Iowa's economic development strategy," Skorton
said. "The Center for Advanced Drug Development has been a cornerstone
of that effort. With cuts of this magnitude we may be forced to abandon our
commitment to enhance the pharmaceutical industry in Iowa."