- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead’s proposed state budget provides no salary increases for University of Wyoming faculty and staff - a top priority for the UW Board of Trustees - but proposes funds for various ongoing building projects and athletics.

Mead released his proposed budget for the coming two-year funding cycle on Tuesday. The $3.4 billion general fund proposal is down about $200 million from the current budget because of falling energy revenues.

His budget is a recommendation that the Legislature will consider when it convenes its budget session next February.

UW’s request for $160 million was whittled down in Mead’s budget to $60 million. The governor’s recommendation includes a $5 million reduction in the university’s block grant for the two years.

UW President Dick McGinity said in a statement Wednesday that Mead’s recommendations will be reviewed by his administration and trustees.



“But it’s clear there will be an impact,” McGinity said. “Still, considering the difficult financial challenges facing the state, the governor’s recommendations must be considered quite fair for the university.”

Faculty salary and retention topped the list of budget requests submitted by UW trustees in August.

Mead’s budget proposal does not include pay raises for any government worker.

“The University of Wyoming - they proposed in their budget, if the state got pay raises, they wanted them as well,” Mead said. “But we do not propose any pay raises.”

McGinity said he recognizes that “state funding for compensation increases is unrealistic” considering the revenue forecasts.

“We will continue to look for ways to stem the growing gap between UW salaries and those of its competitors,” he said.

Mead did recommend $2.3 million in recurring funding for UW’s Science Initiative, which is aimed at improving science programs. In addition, the governor included $30 million for a new science building and $8 million for a new engineering building. Both buildings are estimated to cost about $100 million.

Mead also recommended $11.5 million in one-time dollars to match private donations, including $8 million for UW athletics.

Mead explained that “there is a good correlation between the athletics and alumni support of the university in terms of dollars and otherwise.”

UW had requested $10 million in matching money for athletics.

Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, questioned the governor’s priorities.

“I am and will be very curious about an explanation why we would be cutting the primary purpose of the university, which is education, by $5 million and giving $8 million to be matched to make it $16 million for athletic competitiveness,” said Connolly, a member of the Joint Appropriations Committee and a tenured professor at UW.

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