Chief Financial Officer discusses proposed state budget cuts

By Abigale Svoboda

The University is in compliance with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s executive order to eliminate nonessential spending after Rauner proposed to eliminate one-third of the University’s budget last month, Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr said Monday.

The state is in the process of requesting and receiving information about University finances before finalizing state appropriation for the University.

At the Board of Trustees’ Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee meeting Monday, Knorr said the University’s financial state for the upcoming year remains uncertain. At least a $1.5 billion shortfall remains in the 2015 state budget, he said, so the state could potentially cut more of the University’s funding.

“There’s a lot going on in this sort of budget vortex,” Knorr said.

On Feb. 18, Rauner announced a proposed 31 percent — $209 million — cut in state funding for the University. In the meantime, the University is waiting for more information on how much state appropriation it will receive.

He said he expects it to take several months before the entire budget issue is decided.

“I doubt this is going to be resolved until very late in the game,” Knorr said. 

The University is also waiting on the March 11 Supreme Court ruling on whether pension reform is constitutional. If the case is ruled unconstitutional, the state would have to make up for unpaid pensions, which could result in decreased funding available for the University.

Additionally, the committee will propose the board approve contract renewals with Coca-Cola and N-Point Technology, the company that provides the Microsoft Enterprise software for the University system. 

The contract with Coca-Cola is $7.5 million and spans 16 months. The contract with N-Point is 36 months long, costing $11 million per year. 

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