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January 25, 2010


A. Comments by the President.
President Powers said the renovations to Main 212 were close to completion, and he was confident the February Council meeting could be held there. He reported that the administration was working with the UT System chancellor and board regarding the request from the governor, lieutenant governor, and house speaker that a plan be developed for a possible 5% reduction in general revenue funding during the current biennium. Although the potential cut pertained to general revenue funds rather than the entire University budget, President Powers said it would be a substantial reduction, involving approximately $29 million. He said the state must balance its budget, which was originally based on expected revenues certified by the comptroller. Since holiday sales tax revenues have been lower than anticipated, there is concern that the inflow of revenue would not meet the overall budget allocations approved by the legislature. He said there was an effort to clarify if the plan needs to provide sufficient reductions to balance the budget for this biennium or if it involves a reduction in the University’s recurring budget by $29 million. He said the UT Austin administration was hopeful the cuts would be strategically determined rather than applied across the board, and there are discussions underway as to whether or not reserves existing at the campus, system, and even the state level could possibly be used to meet part of the projected shortfall. President Powers said he had met with the chancellor and other system administrators in an effort to get clarification on these matters, and he would need to leave the Council meeting before adjournment to get to another meeting at the systems office that afternoon. He said a similar, but much larger, budgetary situation had been faced in 2003, and he planned to follow a transparent, strategic planning process in meeting the current request. President Powers said he was willing to take questions and would continue to communicate with the Council as additional information developed. When Professor Bill Beckner (mathematics) asked if the cuts were to be allocated over two years, President Powers replied it could as long as the objective was to simply balance the budget over the biennium. After saying there could be some savings of uncommitted funds this year, he pointed out that programs were already underway and funds had been committed for this first year of the biennium

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