A quick word from David Koon, sitting in today on meetings of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees:
UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn said the current budget projects a $34 million deficit for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. Without extension of the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion — a proposal by Gov. Asa Hutchinson that currently lacks votes sufficient to pass appropriation bills — that deficit will grow to $99 million, Rahn said.
You could save $100 million by laying off 1,000 people making $100,000 a year. If it was that simple.
Another person at the meeting says Rahn said closing programs and rationing care would have to be considered. He compared UAMS with the University of Mississippi. He said its larger state appropriation was wholly for its use, while UAMS must use part of its $102 million for Medicare/Medicaid matching money, leaving only $23 million free for campus support.
Also on the agenda this week for the UA Board: Athletic Director Jeff Young’s desire to issue $100 million in bonds for a Razorback Stadium project to create several thousand more high-rent seats for Hog fans. The final scope of that project isn’t known. Hog devotees don’t care; it will be paid with money generated by seat sales and TV contract income (though why the university in general shouldn’t share in profits from using its good name has always been a mystery to me. How about 10 percent cut for UAMS, which now has a Northwest Arkansas branch, after all?)
UA Trustee David Pryor, who’d said he hoped to present questions about the stadium expansion this week, has not been at board committee meetings today. The Board meets through tomorrow. (Apparently a health issue kept him away today; but his list of questions was prepared and I hope to have a copy before the day is out.)