Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dealing with the state budget cuts

The Arizona Legislature released budget 'options' on Friday but only one of them has details, so that version is widely viewed as the preferred plan. That option is receiving criticism about the impacts on education and health services so there is uncertainty how it may change.

In this option, the AZGS is targeted for a 10% across the board cut in our FY09 funds plus a 4.2% cut in personnel costs for a total reduction of 12.6% of our annual budget. But since we are halfway through the fiscal year, that means a 25% cut of the remaining budget between now and July 1.

All agencies, including AZGS, are given the following guidelines in implementing these reductions: "State agencies would have the flexibility of determining how to implement this reduction in their personnel costs. These actions could include a furlough, pay reduction or other management actions."

In anticipation of the Legislature taking such action, AZGS has been working with the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budget for the past couple of months to reallocate our appropriated state general funds. We cut costs (turned in one of our 6 fleet vehicles, converted the Arizona Geology newsletter to digital, etc), moved state funded-staff members to contract funds, and will use all of our overhead funds this year.

We expect this combination will allow us to get through the next six months without layoffs or furloughs. While this is encouraging, the cuts mean we will be able to carry out a lot less of the work mandated in statute for the Survey.

For FY10, starting July 1, our base cut would be 15% plus a 10% reduction in personnel costs, for a total of about 21% reduction from our FY08 base. That is going to be more challenging to handle.

While the current financial situation looks grim, we are taking control of our destiny. A lot can, and likely will happen between now and the next fiscal year. We are aggressively pursuing alternative funds. We have more proposals being prepared right now than ever. We are also working with Congress on stimulus proposals that would bring large projects to us. A delegation of politically-savvy state geologists will be in DC at the end of the week working to get the Geoscience Recovery & Reinvestment Program incorporated into Congressional bills.

No comments:

Post a Comment