Rames to review task force’s budget cut outline

Nate Neary, Staff Writer

After weeks of internal discussion on how to most efficiently meet Gov. Pete Ricketts’ proposed tax cut demands, President Marysz Rames’s assigned the Budget Advisory Task Force (BATF) has finished outlining possible strategies.
The 12-member BATF met seven times over the course of seven weeks. According to an email sent out Monday to campus faculty and staff, the BATF has submitted a report to Rames outlining recommendations for budget reductions.
“I am excited to hear what they have to say,” Rames said.
The outline will give Rames direction as the legislature finalizes its state funding level for the state colleges.
BATF was composed of four faculty members from their respective schools, a student representative, faculty representative and professional staff representative. Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Elliott and Vice President of Administration and Finance Angela Fredrickson are the two co-chairs of the committee.
Rames attended the first meeting to get the ball rolling but stepped back to let the appointed board members and co-chairs run the show while giving proposers a certain level of anonymity.
“The task force will give the report to me and I will make recommendations to Chancellor Stan Carpenter based on their input,” Rames said. “What the task force says will have an impact.”
In regards to policy implemented by Republican leadership to seemingly always make higher education one of the first departments susceptible to tax cuts in time of fiscal strife, Rames said looking at generating revenue may be a more beneficial approach.
“We always talk about cuts, what about revenue?” Rames said. “How do we grow our economy? Look at the tax Nebraska just implemented on Amazon deliveries.”
Rames also expressed concern about how these cuts may affect Wayne State’s most vulnerable students.
“We have to keep in mind that a lot of our students are first generation college students who come from low income households,” Rames said “We want to run a quality and affordable education.”
WSC student Grace Black, who is the representative for the student body on the task force, shared her experience.
“I’m learning a lot, it’s going really well,” Black said.
Black is on the Student Senate and was picked by Rames for the position.
“Everyone on the task force has an equal opportunity to say what they want to say,” Black said.
In reference to rumors about student services, such as counseling, being cut more than others, Black said, “Nothing is being specifically targeted and all departments are being equally looked at.”
The e-mail stated that, in addition to reviewing budget strategy presentations and reduction proposals, the BATF discussed all of the campus budget reduction suggestions submitted via the website form or campus suggestion box.
Vice Presidents Elliott and Fredrickson thanked the BATF members for their work over the last couple of months in the campus-wide email.