Martin: LSU Could Suffer $14 million Cut

Despite what Gov. Bobby Jindal and some legislative leaders say about restoring budget cuts and making higher education “whole,” it appears that LSU could take a $14 million cut in the coming fiscal year.

LSU Chancellor Mike Martin just sent a message to all students, faculty and staff about the impact of state budget cuts on the university.

I’m not sure what dictionary they use down at the state Capitol, but $14 million doesn’t match my definition of “whole.”

Here’s Martin’s message in its entirety:

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff

From: Chancellor Mike Martin

Re: Legislative Session

The Louisiana Legislature completed its business yesterday, but the implications may not be completely known for a few weeks. What we know of the budget now is very serious.

The state’s revenue projections were decreased for the remainder of the current year which ends this month, and higher education will sustain a $25 million reduction of which we estimate LSU’s share to be about $4 million.

Of even more significant impact than the current fiscal year, LSU will have cuts and reallocations for fiscal year 2012-13. The Legislature passed a budget that includes a rescission in state general fund dollars for higher education. There may be other transfers or rearrangements that could affect LSU. There are also increased costs that do not appear on the budget documents, such as $5 million in unfunded mandates, another $5 million in financial aid to offset the 2012-13 tuition increase, and loss of one-time funding. We have some very difficult decisions ahead of us.

Two proposals of the pension agenda were passed by the Legislature including the proposed cash-balance plan (HB 61) and the employer contribution rate calculation change (HB 1131). A retire-rehire provision (SB 20) also passed.

The result of the legislative session should not be construed as a lack of appreciation for your hard work and dedication to our cause. LSU’s graduation rates continue to climb and we continue to recruit ever-improving cohorts of students seeking the unique opportunities that LSU provides. Our budget situation, like so many years before, is the unfortunate victim of circumstances such as declining state revenues and a finance structure that always places a disproportional burden on health care and higher education.

As we work through the budget in the coming weeks, we will work closely with the campus to do what is in the best interests of the future of LSU and we will keep you informed as we learn new developments.

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