To NC State Faculty, Staff, and Students:
I want to share with you my thoughts and concerns on the state budget proposal recently presented by Governor McCrory.
First, it was reassuring to see university employees being valued in this spending plan. The budget includes $1,000 in increased salary and benefits for our university employees. This translates to just over an $800 raise for all employees. We appreciate the recognition that our employees have taken the brunt of budget cuts in recent years, both in terms of limited salary increases and loss of employment opportunities.
We hope as this budget is finalized that we have more flexibility to address the critical salary equity and market competitiveness issues that several years of no raises have created on our campus.
The Governor also proposed a $2 million increase to NC State’s budget each of the next five years as the State’s match to the Next Generation Power Electronics project that President Obama announced on our campus earlier this year. We appreciate this commitment to the project, as it was a critical component to the competitiveness of the grant.
The budget also includes $3 million annually to help bring university research and discoveries to the commercial marketplace. The item was part of the UNC System’s budget recommendations and is intended to provide for competitive funding and additional capacity to assess, protect, develop and commercialize intellectual property. The increased funding will help move the discoveries out to where they can benefit society.
There are several areas of the budget proposal that concern me greatly, including a proposal to cut the UNC System by 2 percent that exempts several other campuses. This recommendation translates to a larger budget cut both in percentage and dollars to the research campuses that are vital to the economy and future of North Carolina.
Another portion of the budget plan would cut centers and institutes by 20 percent. This again is a big reduction to NC State with many centers and institutes impacted. At NC State, our cut would be just over $3 million with more than $1 million coming from the North Carolina Biotechnology Training and Education Center. This would severely curtail our ability to support this growing sector of our economy, reduce the research conducted by students in pursuit of their degrees and limit the number of students receiving biotechnology degrees.
Finally, the budget proposal would eliminate $9 million in support from several competitive scholarships across the system. NC State, for example, would have a significant reduction in the number of Park Scholarships we could offer to North Carolinians.
Repeated cuts of this magnitude become impossible to absorb and greatly jeopardize our core mission of educating the workforce of the future and helping to create economic prosperity for all North Carolinians.
Be assured that I am vigorously advocating for the resources we need to continue our standing as a world-leading research university and economic engine for North Carolina.