State Budget Update
As recent news reports from Lansing emphasize the state's escalating fiscal crisis and potentially extreme impacts on state services, Michigan legislators are in the midst of a dual challenge. They must determine how to address the current year’s deficit – estimated to exceed $940 million – while also developing a FY2008 budget around a more ominous projected shortfall of $2 billion.
“Right now, there are a lot of ‘the sky is falling’ stories out there as all sides continue to position themselves,” said NMU President Les Wong. Full Story “Obviously, the state has a serious problem, but I’ve spent much of the past two months in Lansing talking to legislators and policymakers and they haven’t given me the impression that it’s time to panic yet. We’ll keep talking to these people and monitoring the situation. Here on the NMU campus, I hope faculty, staff and students do exactly what we discussed earlier in the semester and that is to stay the course of being proactive as it relates to Northern, programs and students. We can’t control what’s going on in Lansing and reacting to every news story or rumor would be a waste of our energy, time and resources.”
Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s second executive order for FY2007 was approved by the Senate last week and is now before the House. Its impact on higher education would include deferring one-half of each university’s August payment to October to coincide with the start of the state’s new fiscal year. For NMU, the delayed payment amount would be $2.1 million. The executive order also proposes new accounting procedures for how universities fund MPSERS, but in its current form is not expected to directly impact benefits.
Wong is scheduled to give his Senate testimony on Northern’s behalf on Monday, April 23, in Ypsilanti.