Jimmy Rane: Ivey budget recommendation ‘not kind to Auburn’
In an address to Auburn University’s Board of Trustees on Friday morning as chair of the board’s governmental affairs committee, Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. founder and CEO Jimmy Rane lamented that Auburn received the lowest percentage increase among all colleges and universities in Governor Kay Ivey’s proposed Education Trust Fund budget.
The proposed budget has not yet gone through the committee process in the Alabama Senate but is expected to as soon as next week.
“On Tuesday, March 19th, Governor Ivey introduced her budget recommendations for FY 2020,” Rane told the trustees. “The good news is that the proposed Education Trust Fund is the largest education budget in state history totaling $7.1 billion, including $1.2 billion for higher education. The bad news is that her budget was not kind to Auburn. Let me repeat – it was not kind to Auburn.”
He continued, “With record revenues and the largest budget education ever, Auburn received the lowest percentage increase among colleges and universities. While our increase is 5 percent, the University of Alabama’s increase is more than 7.5 percent. Athens State University received the largest increase at more than 11 percent. It’s important to note that Athens State is in the district of State Senator Arthur Orr, who chairs the Finance and Taxation Education Committee.”
Rane then outlined that efforts are underway to increase Auburn’s proposed slice of the budget.
“President Leath and other administrators have met with the governor, her chief of staff and the Senate pro tem, Senator Del Marsh, about our concerns. Our plan is to continue to work aggressively to improve Auburn’s appropriation for a more equitable treatment among the state’s colleges and universities. This week President Leath, Provost Hardgrave, CFO Shomaker and Steve Pelham met with Education Budget Chairman Orr and Senator Marsh to present our message. After the meeting, Senator Marsh pledged his support to help improve our appropriations while Chairman Orr indicated he had a solution to help improve funding for higher education,” Rane advised.
Ivey is an Auburn graduate. Rane was the co-chair of her gubernatorial inaugural committee.
Rane’s remarks came just over an hour before the University of Alabama System announced it will propose a historic tuition freeze for in-state students for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn