What reserves?

Last Friday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) suggested the Board of Regents (the board that governs Iowa, Iowa State and UNI) dip into reserves rather than raise tuition to deal with the latest round of state budget cuts. 

At this hour, the presidents of the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa are supposed to be appearing before a budget subcommittee at the statehouse to talk about their budgets.  Earlier this morning, the three presidents along with Board of Regents president David Miles and a few others sat at a table in the statehouse basement to talk (and wait for legislators to end their own private meetings so the budget subcommittee meetings might start).

As the entourage began its move upstairs to the committee room, I asked Miles a question: "What reserves do (the Regents institutions) have?"

"I've been visiting with the institution heads about it this morning," MIles said.  "We're going to get a report back from all of them tomorrow so that we have everything in terms of a line item, but the high level answer is what reserves we have are not freely available.  They're committed to future encumbrances or one kind or another.  We really don't see a lot of opportunity there, but we're looking.  We're identifying what we can, but particularly in the case of the University of Iowa, we're actually having to look at doing some short-term debt financing because the flood has so drained down our operating cash."

Legislators' private "caucus" meetings have not concluded at this hour (10:18 a.m.), so the presidents and all the rest of the officials who've driven to the statehouse today to testify before the seven budget subcommittees are still waiting for the legisaltors to show up and the meetings to start. 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.