A Message from the President
Recent news reports paint a dismal picture for next year's State budget. The primary culprits appear to be lagging corporate and personal income tax collections and the dramatic drop in the price of oil with the resulting decline in royalties and severance taxes collected by the State.
While we are very early in the State budget planning process, preliminary information suggests higher education could face between $200 and $400 million in additional cuts. I don't have to remind any of you that higher education in Louisiana has already absorbed huge reductions in State support (over $48 million at Southeastern), and our students have endured drastic increases in tuition and fees (approximately 94% since 2008).
Given the cuts already sustained by higher education institutions in Louisiana, the prospect of any additional cuts is truly frightening - and highly frustrating for us all.
We expect the Revenue Estimating Conference, which establishes the official revenue estimates that must be used in the state budget for next fiscal year, will meet within a few weeks. Additionally, the Governor's Executive Budget will be proposed to the Legislature in February.
As these and other details become available, we will know much more about the potential specific impact on higher education and Southeastern. In the meantime I will continue to work diligently with our University of Louisiana System leadership to identify potential solutions that can be pursued with our legislators during the upcoming Legislative Session.
As always, I will keep the campus community apprised of further developments.
John L. Crain