Gov. Ricketts says NU must deal with budget cuts just like the rest of the state

June 30, 2018

Gov. Pete Ricketts says the University of Nebraska must live within its means, just like every other part of state government.

A university official has expressed concern the university’s mission will be compromised if it has to absorb further budget cuts.

Ricketts says revenue just hasn’t lived up to projections, leading to budget cuts.

“My agencies have to live within that,” Ricketts tells reporters. “I can’t speak to the university’s budget. I’m not on the Board of Regents. I don’t know the details. I can tell you we’ve been working very hard to live within those budget constraints, to constrain our spending, to find ways to do a better job of serving the people of Nebraska by leveraging better process and better technology and I think all the other agencies have to do the same thing.”

The state budget projects very little revenue growth over the next two fiscal years.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents considers the proposed budget this morning during its meeting in Lincoln with the proposal to cut $22 million from the operating budget.

The four campuses have also proposed an additional $6 million in cuts to various programs.

The total budget for the four campuses of the University of Nebraska is $2.6 billion, but that includes federal money and other monies which officials cannot adjust. The operating budget is approximately $960 million. State appropriations total nearly $570 million.

Nebraska University Chief Financial Officer Chris Kabourek told reporters in outlining the proposed university budget that he didn’t know how the university could absorb more cuts without hampering its ability to carry out its mission.

Ricketts says all of state government has had to absorb budget cuts.

“Well, as I said, we all have to live within our budget and we all have to still carry out our services,” Ricketts says. “We’re, actually, at state government doing a better job of providing state services across our agencies even though we’re constraining spending. We’ve demonstrated that in a number of different areas, whether it’s Department of Environmental Quality, Health and Human Services, Department of Labor; we’re all doing a better job of providing those services even though we’re constraining spending. That’s what we have to do as a state government.”

Ricketts had recommended a 4% cut to the University of Nebraska budget in the next fiscal year. State legislators reduced that to a 1% cut.