The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Doyle: We must solve the budget

Tuition hikes are just beyond the horizon but aren’t in sight yet. The governor’s call for a special legislative session to trim an emergency $161 million from the state budget shouldn’t worry students over rising tuition costs – yet.

The only cuts to the UW System in Doyle’s immediate plan would be a five percent cut in “administrative spending,” which would save about $6.9 million, Vice Chancellor Andy Soll said.

The state’s overall deficit will reach anywhere from $2.6 to $4.3 billion, Soll said.

“We must start fixing the problem now,” Doyle said Thursday at a press conference. “This will be a down payment on the deficit.”

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Not all have praised the move, however. Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) played the move down, saying the special legislative session fixed only part of the problem.

“We’ve got a head wound and he’s putting a Band-Aid on it,” he said.

Immediate temporary cuts aren’t as troublesome as permanent cuts, Soll said. They allow for a “lot more flexibility,” and administration has the ability to spend the money again next year, he said.

Soll’s views on the potential permanent cuts to the UW System in the upcoming 2003-2005 state budget do not share the same enthusiasm.

“The governor has been very consistent and vocal that he will not raise taxes,” Soll said.

He said administration has pushed the UW System as a “part of the solution,” but admits, “we are all quite nervous” for the future.

For now, any plans dealing with the upcoming budget seem to be in a holding pattern.

Soll agreed, saying there isn’t enough direction to plan for any future budget cuts.

UW-Eau Claire is already feeling the financial burden from the new administration. Secretary of Administration Mark Marotta recently issued a directive to the UW System.

Marotta, the key player in the UW System’s budget, asked universities to fill only the necessary positions.

Soll said Eau Claire is not under a hiring freeze, but every time there’s a vacancy, that position’s necessity comes under review.

All of this comes after the retirement of four professors last semester. Biology, housing and residence life, technical services and communication and journalism each lost a professor to retirement.

All received emeritus status.

With everyone bracing for budget cuts, the only real question seemingly left unanswered is the one of timing.

At least one administrative official seems wary.

With over $100 million in cuts over the last 10 years, Soll said there “isn’t a lot of flexibility left.”

The Associated Press

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Doyle: We must solve the budget