UGA expecting more deep cuts

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Barely two weeks into the state's new fiscal year, administrators at the University of Georgia and other public colleges are bracing for another round of state budget cuts.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has not yet sent out any official directive, but he told state agencies late last month to hold off on spending 3 percent of their budgets until further instruction.

Then, last week Mr. Perdue announced that June tax revenues were down nearly 20 percent from last year. Overall, state revenues declined nearly $2 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, compared to the year before. With state revenues still in the tank, more cuts are inevitable, said Tim Burgess, UGA senior vice president for finance and administration.

"I can see the revenue collection reports just like everybody else," Mr. Burgess said Friday. "We literally are expecting (an announcement from the governor's office) any day. I've been expecting it all week."

UGA already lost about 12 percent of its state funding last year in a series of budget reductions Mr. Perdue ordered. About 36 percent of UGA's budget comes from the state; most of the rest comes from student tuition and fees and from contracts and grants.

UGA officials don't have any definite plans for the new round of cuts, Mr. Burgess said.

Last year, UGA administrators trimmed staff, faculty and student workers by more than 400, letting positions stay vacant when workers moved on.

But UGA President Michael Adams has a new option to use to whittle the UGA budget this year - ordering workers to take time off without pay, or so-called furloughs.

And the deeper the cuts, the harder it will be to avoid ordering furloughs, Mr. Burgess said.

UGA officials likely will have their next budget-whittling plan in place soon, however.

The state Board of Regents, which oversees UGA and 34 other public colleges and universities, meets the second week of August. The board will approve an amended budget at the August meeting, and that budget has to include any potential budget reductions, said University System of Georgia spokesman John Millsaps.

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