USG reconsiders funding changes
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 00:04
Two weeks ago, the USG Senate passed an overhaul of Tier II group funding, but, following a veto by President Sam Tracy, the Senate reconsidered the policy Wednesday.
“The new plan was going to be too rushed to train staff and students,” said Tracy as he expressed concerns about the timeline of the recently passed funding policies.
The funding board also ended up with a much larger surplus than expected, which affected policy. Funding board task force chairman Ed Courchaine said that the last projected surplus was $257, but, due in part to the moratorium on on-campus events during Spring Weekend, the new forecast is “at least the $44,000 that we originally predicted” at the beginning of the year, and possibly more than $100,000.
Tracy said that the previous version of the policy was crafted “in crisis mode” when the funding board thought it would run a deficit, but the new data caused him and the task force members to rethink the policy.
Senator Joe Gasser expressed concern over using budget numbers to justify a veto, saying, “It’s purely an accident that we have this money left over.” He cited the moratorium, groups spending less than they requested and applications that were rejected as causes that are not reliable predictors of future funding needs.
A presidential veto returns legislation to the Senate, where it can be overridden. At the request of Tracy, Courchaine and funding board chairman Syed Naqvi, the Senate upheld the veto.
The new plan keeps most of the details of the previously passed policy. The major difference is that implementation will be pushed back to Spring 2013, so that the Funding Board will have an entire semester to prepare staff and students to understand the new process of applying for funding. The Senate approved the new measure by a vote of 23-3.
Chief of staff Corey Schmitt, along with Tracy and program coordinator Grace Collins, met with two editors of The New York Times regarding the Readership Program, one of USG’s biggest expenditures. USG plans to scale back the program, which costs around $50,000 a year.
External affairs chariman Ethan Senack reported on his committee’s meeting with student governments across the state in the Secretary of State’s office last week as part of a discussion about voter registration policy. Electronic and same-day registration were considered, among other policies. On Wednesday, a constitutional amendment was introduced in the Assembly to allow “no excuses” absentee voting, which would allow any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason.