Gilmore Proposes Reduction in Funding for Mason

Posted: January 12, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Gov. Jim Gilmore’s budget amendments for the final year of the biennium, if approved by the General Assembly, reduce funding for George Mason and for higher education operating budgets across the state.

The governor’s proposal calls for a reduction of George Mason’s operating budget by $162,754. Although budget amendments provide that amount for student aid, this has little effect on the university’s operating budget, according to Tom Hennessey, chief of staff for President Alan Merten. “With George Mason’s historical underfunding as compared with its doctoral counterparts, there is concern that the university will not be able to make any improvements in operations and may have to curtail some programs,” says Hennessey. Of greatest concern are the projected “productivity savings” and the inability to meet faculty salary increases.

Regarding George Mason’s capital projects, Hennessey says the outlook appears to be brighter. Gilmore has included the university’s two top priority capital projects in his proposed $249 million new funding proposal: Arlington II and outfitting Fairfax IV. Both would be funded from bonds issued by the Virginia College Building Authority with their payments coming from a trust fund established by selling the commonwealth’s future tobacco settlement funding stream.

For all of higher education in Virginia, Hennessey reports that the total reduction as proposed by Gilmore is approximately $18.1 million.

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