N&O Editorial: Art Pope Raised ‘Proper Questions’ About UNC’s Budget Request
The editorial page of the Raleigh News & Observer writes that Deputy Budget Director Art Pope raised “proper questions” about the University of North Carolina system’s proposed $2.8 billion budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year:
A stern cautionary note from state budget director Art Pope to the University of North Carolina system comes down to this: This is my second memo about the state budget. You guys must not have gotten the first one.
Pope has sent UNC system officials back to the budget drawing board, and because he is viewed as the top adviser to Gov. Pat McCrory and the most influential person in the executive branch, the message will be received.
Pope told university officials in a Feb. 28 memo that they’re asking for too much money. He noted that to satisfy the university system’s request for a budget increase of $288 million, or 11.3 percent, the state would have to make “major reductions” in other agencies, including the court system and public schools. He noted the state also has a major obligation with Medicaid, the health care system for the poor and disabled.
The university system is seeking the money as the legislature readies to convene this spring to adjust the second year of its two-year budget.
[It's] fair and appropriate for Pope to question the UNC system’s budget request. Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC system’s Board of Governors, gave exactly the right response in saying he and the board “welcome tough questions about how the university proposes to spend public dollars.” He said Pope was “doing what taxpayers should expect him to do.”
Categories: Fiscal Issues, Higher Education, Public Service