$68M combined cut proposed for U-M, Wayne State

$68M combined cut proposed for U-M, Wayne State

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Pat Lindsay, the vice president of finance at Wayne State, said the university can't handle at $27 million cut.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Pat Lindsay, the vice president of finance at Wayne State, said the university can't handle at $27 million cut. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Lobbyists got their first look Tuesday at a proposed cut of $41 million for the University of Michigan and $27 million for Wayne State.

"Do the math.  A $27 million cut to Wayne State would be severe for the institution, severe for the students, severe for the city," said Pat Lindsay, the school's vice president of finance.

"Can you handle a $27 million cut?" I asked.

"No," he replied.

"The kids will end up paying more?" I further asked.

"Possibly," Lindsay remarked.

So why would a Republican-controlled committee cut those two schools?  Democrats contend it is to punish them for redoing their union contracts so that labor could avoid the right-to-work law.

"It galls me," said Sen. Gretchen Whitmer.  "They're getting good contracts.  They're getting a sure thing for a number of years.  Those are great things in business.  They shouldn't go back and say that they know better than what our universities do."

"Is this retribution?" I asked her.

"Absolutely," she replied.

The Republican chair does not see any savings by renegotiating these contracts.

"I don't see where there's a net savings to taxpayers in that contract," said Rep. Al Pscholka.

Meanwhile, U of M lobbyist Cynthia Wilbanks said, "We'll be working very hard to get to a different proposal at the end."

The universities are hoping to eliminate the $68 million combined cut in the state Senate whose Republican leader, Randy Richardville, said, "I don't think that a punishment kind of thing is the right way."

Hanging in the balance of this debate is the size of the tuition hikes at those two schools.

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