Weak Economy Could Impact OSU’s Funding

By By U Wire

By U Wire

STILLWATER, Okla.?Oklahoma State University officials are preparing for the possibility of budget cuts, even as state legislators promise to protect education during the national economic recession.

Oklahoma state Senate Pro Tem Stratton Taylor warned that low oil and gas prices coupled with the uncertain economy could result in little revenue growth and, therefore, budget cuts for state agencies for the fiscal year starting next July.

Paul Sund, Senate communications director for Taylor, said it is too early to predict what will happen with the state budget in the coming years.

“The whole economic outlook is uncertain because of the national events from the past months,” Sund said.

For this fiscal year, 61.6 percent of the state higher education budget came from state appropriations, said Harve Allen, director of media relations for the State Regents for Higher Education.

In the past 20 years, state appropriations have funded 64 to 77 percent of OSU’s budget. State appropriations for this year make up 66.3 percent of the budget. “If all of it [state allocation money] didn’t come true, that would really, definitely be a problem,” said Joe Weaver, OSU assistant vice president for planning, budget and institutional research.

The state probably will not cut higher education allocations midyear, as it did in the mid-1980s with the oil bust, officials said.