Indiana Daily Student

O'Bannon cuts another $10 million

IU budget cut by $100 million for next two years, repairs limited

Indiana University faces an even tighter financial situation in light of Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon's announcement of a budget plan that would cut an additional $10 million from the University's state budget allocation. The announcement brings the total cuts to IU in this two-year period to about $100 million.\nMary Dieter, press secretary for O'Bannon, said more cuts may be announced next week when O'Bannon's budget agency releases a deficit management plan. Like those previously announced, Wednesday's cuts would primarily affect the areas of repairs and rehabilitation and information technology. \nBill Stephan, IU vice president of public affairs and government relations, said the administration will wait to hear if O'Bannon announces more cuts next week before making any firm decisions on how to react to the cuts. \n"We really want to see how things unfold before we react," he said. \nBut Stephan said he expected rehabilitation work on all IU campuses to be limited. Projects currently underway will continue as the money for them had previously been allocated.\n"With the exception of emergency repairs we won't have the luxury of doing any preventative maintenance or routine maintenance," he said. \nAny reductions in staff will also be discussed in the near future, Stephan said.\n"Obviously the news (Wednesday) is not good news," he said. "It's likely that that may be an option we might have to resort to. Right now we're in a bit of a holding pattern."\nBut IU president Myles Brand did join the leaders of five other Indiana universities in signing a letter to O'Bannon asking that the General Assembly be called back into special session to address the issues relating to the budget deficit. In a press release, Brand said while he knew cuts to higher education would be a part of solving the state's budget problems, he was concerned about the damage the cuts will do to IU.\n"The ability of IU to provide access to qualified Hoosier students and to take a lead in strengthening the state's economy is being undermined," Brand said.\nDieter said O'Bannon felt lawmakers were not committed to passing legislation to ease the strain of budget cuts. \n"While (O'Bannon) is certainly committed to getting the budget balanced and tax restructuring passed he cannot force lawmakers to work," she said. "He will call them back only when he is confident that they will do their jobs."\nEfforts to pass a tax restructuring and deficit reduction plan failed in the closing days of the session. Dieter said O'Bannon's balanced budget plan called for an increase in taxes on things such as cigarettes and gambling in order to help balance the budget.\n"We warned legislators since November that if they did not pass a balanced budget plan or something similar (O' Bannon) was going to have no choice but to cut education," Dieter said.\nSen. Lawrence Borst (R-Greenwood) said increasing taxes in the midst of a recession was unfair to the people of Indiana and O'Bannon did not make enough of an effort to find the needed money.

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