Resolution supports increased finacial contributions by the state to fund resarch and medical education programs
February 7, 2013
(Tempe, Ariz.) – Governor Brewer today joined the Arizona Board of Regents at its regular meeting to encourage the regents to support her FY14 state budget proposal and Medicaid expansion plan. Demonstrating the Board’s support, the regents passed a resolution endorsing the Governor’s budget recommendations for Arizona’s public universities in lieu of the Board’s earlier budget request. The resolution also demonstrates the Board’s support of the Medicaid expansion plan, which would allow state general fund dollars to be redirected for education in FY2014 – 2016 and beyond.
“The Board applauds the Governor’s budget recommendations and its investment in our universities and we thank the Governor for her commitment to higher education,” said ABOR Chair Rick Myers. “The Board has directed the university system presidents to support and advocate on behalf of the Governor’s budget recommendations for the universities and her Medicaid expansion plan, to business leaders, the state legislature, and to the public.”
Reflecting on the difficult economic climate Arizona has endured the past several years, Gov. Brewer said, “My commitment to higher education has been and remains steadfast. Undoubtedly, a quality education is the surest path to individual prosperity and economic growth. While we will never have all the state funding we would like for our universities, there is a simple step we can take now to protect these institutions. By expanding Medicaid in the manner I have proposed, we will constrain the growth of state funding for Medicaid and redirect these savings for higher education.”
Governor Brewer has made the universities a major priority in her FY14 budget which recommends $58.6 million in new money for Arizona’s public universities. The increase in state support represents an 8.2 percent increase from the prior year and nearly one-fourth of her recommended statewide operating budget increase. The Governor’s proposal for higher education funding is made possible by her expansion plan for Arizona’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), under the federal “Affordable Care Act” that frees up general fund dollars to be redirected for education. The Medicaid proposal will bring $1.6 billion to the state in enhanced federal matching funds which will greatly reduce pressure on the state budget and constitutional priorities such as higher education.
“The Governor’s unwavering commitment to transforming higher education in Arizona is evidenced through her bold and skillfully crafted budget proposal,” said ABOR President Eileen Klein. “Her budget is advantageous to both education and health care in Arizona and will help us achieve essential academic and research goals. I look forward to working with her to continue advancing Arizona’s higher education enterprise as a national model.”
The budget proposal has significant direct and indirect benefits for Arizona’s universities. Indirect benefits are realized through the Governor’s recommended increases in performance funding, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix campus, and through continuation of a five-year plan to
implement per-student funding parity based on a fiscal year 2012 agreement between the three universities and as mandated by the state legislature. Direct benefits will accrue to the University of Arizona Health Network which serves a significant Medicaid population.
Governor Brewer also recognized the Board’s perseverance in modernizing the university funding model to a performance-driven model rewarding institutions for gains in key areas, such as increased degree production and external research funding, but called on the Board to continue efforts in innovating sustainable fiscal operations of the universities. She asked for the Board to present plans this Fall on expansion of academic and research capacity at the universities, and opportunities to continue modernization of the universities so they are equipped for the challenges and opportunities of Arizona’s second century.
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The Arizona Board of Regents is committed to ensuring access for qualified residents of Arizona to undergraduate and graduate instruction; promoting the discovery, application, and dissemination of new knowledge; extending the benefits of university activities to Arizona’s citizens outside the university; and maximizing the benefits derived from the state’s investment in education. For more information visit www.azregents.edu