- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner is expected tonight to announce a second round of extensive budget cuts aimed at addressing the state's $3.5 billion shortfall.
"It will be a difficult pill to swallow, because there are going to have to be some drastic cuts," said Delegate Brian Moran, Fairfax Democrat.
Over the summer, the Democratic governor announced that the $3.5 billion shortfall was on top of an initial $2 billion shortage uncovered and addressed earlier this year in a first round of budget cuts. On Sept. 20, state agencies submitted to the governor plans detailing ways to reduce costs at three different levels of budget cuts: 7 percent, 11 percent and 15 percent.
During his speech tonight, which will air locally on public television in Fairfax (WNVT Channel 53) and cable News-Channel 8 and run about 18 minutes, Mr. Warner is expected to embrace those recommendations. All state agencies will be affected by the cuts, but at different levels, not straight 7 percent, 11 percent or 15 percent cuts across the board.
"It is a direct and frank speech," said Ellen Qualls, Mr. Warner's press secretary.
"The major hits are going to go to the colleges and universities," said Delegate Vincent F. Callahan, Fairfax Republican, who has been in discussions with the governor about the cuts, and is expected to receive final word this afternoon before the speech.
The cuts to higher education come at a time when educators say they can least afford it, particularly the smaller colleges.
"These cuts to schools will be across the board, but they will affect different schools differently," said Mr. Callahan, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "UVa. and Tech are heavily endowed, but a place like [George] Mason [University] is going to have a hard time."
"There is pain at the 7 percent level, but there will be disaster [if the cuts are] at the 15 percent level," said Alan Merten, president of George Mason University.
"We are a young university, and these cuts are going to affect everyone."
"These cuts are likely to affect us in the areas we can least afford, such as medicine, because it is so expensive, and it will further cut our ability to meet the needs of students not only now, but in the future," said Peter Sterns, president of the Northern Virginia Community College system.
The only areas that are likely to be unaffected are public safety and education at the elementary and secondary levels.
Observers note the average person won't see the effects right away, but they soon will be apparent in everyday life.
"Folks will experience this at the [Department of Motor Vehicles] because there will be less personnel, because human resources will be affected, and that's when people are going to be upset," Mr. Moran said.


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