Message from the President
June 19, 2017
Following a somewhat ignominious June 8 end to the Regular Legislative Session and the associated failure to adopt a State budget, the Louisiana Legislature accomplished the necessary task this past week in a brief special session that ended on June 16, 2017.
With less fanfare than widely expected, the Legislature adopted a compromise budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year beginning July 1, providing what is essentially stable funding for higher education and fully funding TOPS awards for higher education students. This is a welcome outcome given almost a decade of State budgets that have included reductions in financial support for higher education.
We are very grateful for this most recent result, and sincerely appreciate the efforts of Governor Edwards and many legislators in supporting a budget that holds funding for higher education largely stable. Unfortunately, this still leaves Louisiana institutions funded at one of the lowest levels in the entire country. It also leaves us very concerned and cautious about the fiscal cliff that looms in the following fiscal year when temporary sales tax measures expire. Nevertheless, we will move forward with our planning and preparation for the fiscal year which begins July 1.
One of the most positive aspects of the State budget adopted last week by the Legislature is the provision for pay raises for classified State employees. Likewise, as I have repeatedly committed, my highest budget priority is to provide pay raises for all of our faculty and staff. Additional details will be provided in the weeks ahead as we learn more specific information about the recently adopted State budget and complete our campus budget planning process.
As I have frequently reminded our campus community, our present financial model is heavily dependent upon self-generated revenues. Successful recruitment and retention of students has a far greater impact on our overall resources than State funding decisions. Accordingly, I continue to encourage all of us to focus our efforts on the success of our students.
As always, I will provide additional details to the campus community when more specific information becomes available as we move through the budget finalization process over the next few weeks.
John L. Crain