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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Regents vote to support governor

    Recent cuts to the Arizona state education system have led many education advocates to criticize Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. On Friday, the Arizona Board of Regents gave her their support.

    The board voted unanimously to support the governor’s five-point recovery plan during the second day of their meeting in the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Under the proposal, Brewer outlines a plan to mandate certain state allocation every year, reduce spending by $1 billion, reform taxes in an effort to attract business and create jobs, and generate $1 billion through a temporary tax increase.

    Regent Ernest Calderon said the board was left with little choice but to support the proposal because it provides a new funding resource, and without it, he said, there would definitely have to be more severe cuts to the university system.

    “”It is the only way out for the future of higher education right now,”” Calderon said. “”There’s two philosophies relative to supporting the budget, it is cut, cut, cut because we are in this deficit and we have already experienced $191 million in cuts. We’ll be cut again I’m sure but we can’t afford major cuts so we need to add revenue into the formula as well.””

    The plan projects that new tax hikes would create $1 billion in revenue. One portion of the proposal that some of the board members had a hard time with was that the governor calls for $1 billion in additional cuts.

    “”I think there will be some more cuts to education, I hope they’re not dramatic,”” Calderon said. “”If you look at this last year, higher education is 10 percent of the state pie, we took over 20, almost 21 percent of the cuts.””

    Regent Fred DuVal said he voted for the motion, which passed unanimously, because at this point the additional revenue could save the university system from disaster once the stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act runs out.

    “”You have a collision in 2012,”” DuVal said. “”In the third year of the stimulus we will have spent all of the stimulus money, all of it, and of course the stimulus money has kept us from having to go to the higher level on the tuition. So we will have spent all of the stimulus money, the economy won’t have recovered and the governor will still need to be cutting as part of her plan.””

    DuVal, who during the meeting voiced an opposition to the $1 billion in additional cuts, said at this point the board had no choice but to support them.

    Calderon said without the creation of the additional revenue supply for the state the future cuts would be closer to $3 billion or $4 billion rather than the $1 billion outlined in the plane.

    “”This is another good step to make sure that we have some revenue coming in,”” he said. “”That way if the legislature cuts us unfairly again we can at least have our friend, the governor, try to make that up with some new revenue.””

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