The Virginia General Assembly’s Longest Session Wraps Up

Posted: July 17, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Thomas Hennessey, chief of staff to President Alan Merten, to keep the university community informed on the legislative situation in Richmond and how those developments directly affect George Mason.

Once the dust cleared and Gov. Timothy Kaine signed the FY2007-08 budget on June 30, it became clear that the General Assembly had worked to meet many of Mason’s outstanding resource needs.

While the General Assembly increased support for all schools in the commonwealth, Mason’s increase of 19 percent in ’07 and 22 percent in ’08 reflect the university’s role as the largest and fastest growing institution in the state.

The increase in Educational and General (E&G) funding will allow the university to increase salaries for all faculty and staff above the base suggested by the state. It is anticipated that faculty salaries will be increased an average of 5.5 percent and staff salaries an average of 4 percent. Graduate teaching assistants, research assistants and adjunct faculty salaries will also increase an average of 4 percent. Unfortunately, the state did not provide funding for the university cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) request. This remains the institution’s highest priority.

For the first time, Mason has received direct state support for research. In addition to $3 million a year, the university received almost $35 million for facilities construction either directly or indirectly related to Mason’s research efforts.

Funding authorizations for construction projects already approved over the biennium total $100 million. As a result, Mason’s funding total for capital outlay for the biennium is greater than all other schools in the commonwealth, with more than $204 million approved.

While there may have been some concern and consternation that it took the General Assembly longer than ever to finalize the budget, most agree that the final budget supports Mason’s past and future growth, both in size and in research and teaching activities.

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