Senate proposal calls for no increase for university system

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2002

FAIRBANKS - The state Senate's operating budget chief has introduced a proposal to give the University of Alaska the same amount of state funds as lawmakers approved last year.

But two Fairbanks senators vowed to push for a boost in UA funding despite the proposal unveiled Tuesday by Anchorage Republican Sen. Dave Donley.

The state House already has passed its version of the operating budget. The House budget, like the Donley plan, called for no increase in university funding.

University officials say flat funding would mean program cuts because UA has to swallow a $5.7 million rise in costs from previously negotiated contracts and another $3.8 million in other fixed cost increases above the usual inflation.

The Senate Finance Committee will take public testimony on the state budget before debating amendments, likely on Friday. The two Fairbanksans on the finance committee, Republican Sens. Pete Kelly and Gary Wilken, said they would try to increase UA funding, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The university's board of regents and the governor have requested a $16.9 million increase for the university next year.

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