Saying higher education is “a critical component of Oklahoma's economic future,” Chancellor Glen Johnson argued for more state money Monday after the governor called for a cut of nearly $50 million.
In her fiscal year 2015 budget, Gov. Mary Fallin proposed a 5 percent reduction for most agencies.
The state is expected to have about $170 million less to appropriate for fiscal year 2015.
“Previously in tight budget years, our governor and Legislature have made strategic funding decisions to support key state priorities. We believe we can make the case to the governor and Legislature that higher education is one of those key state priorities,” Johnson said.
Fallin's budget does call for targeted increases, but higher education is not one of the priority areas.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education requested an increase of 7.7 percent — or an additional $76.3 million — for a total budget of nearly $1.065 billion.
The governor's budget puts the agency's appropriation at $939,121,557.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren expressed concern Fallin's budget includes a 0.25 percent personal income tax cut.
“This budget will be very damaging to the future of our state if it is not modified in the weeks ahead,” Boren said. “How can we afford another tax cut when we are already shortchanging the education of our children and grandchildren?