Universities Urge State to Loosen Pursestrings in Next Budget
Kenley: Pence's proposed 1.5% overall spending growth about right
Indiana's public universities are seeking more money in the new state budget, but that money may be hard to come by.
Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), who chairs both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the State Budget Committee, says he expects next month's revenue forecast will leave only enough room to increase state spending by 1.5%, the same figure proposed by Republican Governor-elect Mike Pence during the campaign. Kenley says the economy is still too shaky to go further.
Leaders of Purdue, IU, Indiana State, Ball State, Vincennes, Ivy Tech, and the University of Southern Indiana have been trooping through the budget committee to lay out their funding hopes for the new two-year spending plan. Legislators must complete that budget before adjourning at the end of April.
Acting Purdue president Tim Sands says the university is seeking an increase of just $1.9 million in operating funds over the next two years. But it's seeking restoration of research funds. Its request was slashed by $4 million in the last budget, and zeroed out in the budget before that. Sands says Purdue students and faculty are doing what leaders in both parties have repeatedly called for: finding ways to commercialize new discoveries. He says that will fuel economic growth and end up paying for itself.
Ivy Tech is seeking a 7% funding increase to catch up to enrollment growth of 37% over the last five years, though enrollment dipped last year.