Speck and the President's Council will determine what fall under those categories. The content of the letter is printed below:
Effective immediately, I am imposing a moratorium on hiring and travel. The President’s Council concurred this morning that a moratorium is necessary given our budget deficit, the current status of the state budget, and the national economy. Clearly, the economy is fragile in our own backyard, given the layoffs at St. John’s and Leggett and Platt, and the cessation of capital projects at Freeman. In addition, the University of Missouri has frozen hiring. I expect that we will see other businesses
taking proactive steps to protect their interests in the wake of a tremendous downturn in the economy.
Exceptions to the moratorium include state-mandated travel and operationally critical positions. Requests to fill those positions will be vetted by the President’s Council after being forwarded through the appropriate administrative channels.
I am imposing the moratorium because of highly probable budget shortfalls.
First, the state budget was based on a 3% increase in revenues. Currently, revenues are running 4% below expectations. That shortfall could be covered in part by the 3% the Governor automatically impounds at the beginning of the fiscal year as a contingency fund. However, even if that 3% were used, 1% would still be needed. The 1% could be collected from higher education by withholding 1% of state appropriations from the spring allocation. For MSSU, that would mean losing approximately $256K.
We are in a weak financial position because of deficit spending, so returning 1% would be a significant exercise in cutting positions and programs. It is better for us to prepare now for a possible impoundment rather than wait when funds we could use for the impoundment would not be available.
Second, the 2009-2010 fiscal year is predicted to be a very difficult one for the state, given projected loss of revenues. It appears that the equalization supplement we have received for the last two years, approximately 3% more than other higher education institutions, is at risk, and we should not plan on receiving the third installment of increased funding. Thus, we would have even fewer resources next budget year for internal allocation. We must plan for at least a two-year cycle of budget shortfalls.
I would rather be very prudent about the allocation of our slim resources than consider more severe alternatives down the road. However, even with conservative management of our resources, I suspect we are looking at a couple years of tough budgets with no increases in overall spending, and, in fact, with decreases in state funding for MSSU.
I continue to believe that we will weather the economic storm and find ourselves in a position to build on our many strengths. In fact, we must focus on increasing enrollment for next fall so that the revenue side of our ledger will support the expense side.
As a team we will overcome our current difficulties and prosper.
As far as I have been able to determine, there is no truth to the rumor that Speck suggested that the university's International Studies mission be changed to a Jasper County mission and that Board of Governors Chairman Dwight Douglas said that was a bit much, adding, "A Duquesne mission would be much more economically feasible."