In late January, both Texas legislative chambers proposed budget bills of the Legislative Budget Board’s Appropriation recommendations to fund the biennial state budget for fiscal year 2018-19. The House and Senate proposed versions of the budget bill are vastly different as they relate to Article III – Higher Education, which affects us and all health related institutions.
UT Health leadership is committed to sharing these important issues with faculty, staff and students. Too, we seek input and feedback as we look continuously at ways we can improve our overall efficiency and process improvements in every area of the university.
The proposed Senate bill eliminates virtually all existing special item funding for higher education. The proposed House bill is not as severe, but is significant with its proposed funding cuts to higher education. Both versions of the budget represent reductions in state funding for the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, ranging from 4 percent to more than 16 percent of our current state appropriation level.
State legislators will take now through the end of May to listen to various constituents and determine what budget items will be impacted, and more specifically what the impact to Article III – Higher Education will be as it relates to proposed budget cuts.
Below are some discussion points to help communicate the issue, the potential impact, and what we can do to support the discussion in our community:
- There is an acute need in Texas for physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals based on unmet need. Significant budget reductions will challenge our university’s ability to meet the current and increasing health care demands of the city, region and state, and would likely limit growth in enrollment to provide supply for these needed health care specialties.
- Academic health institutions like The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) are a point of pride for our state. To remain competitive with institutions nationwide for the highest caliber faculty, scientists and staff, we must continue to have the state’s strong support.
- UT Health San Antonio’s fiscal year 2018-2019 biennial budget will be impacted as a result of these cuts. The organization will work together to develop a reasonable plan to protect our core missions and preserve funds critical for strategic investment, while continuing to implement needed efficiencies, revenue enhancements and cost reductions required.
- UT Health San Antonio is home to several centers of excellence known across the U.S. and the world. Significant cuts in state funding will put at risk certain programming available today that is designed to meet the growing health needs of our community.
- UT Health San Antonio is the primary driver of biomedical and science research in our region. Its physician faculty delivers more than 1.4 million patient visits a year, including providing a safety net by caring for many of the region’s underserved. Our core missions–research and discovery, patient care and academics–are important to every Texan.
- We need more health professionals to increase access to care across the state, particularly in South Texas.
- Faculty who consider relocating to the area and to UT Health San Antonio must have confidence that their institution and the state want to build together a brighter future for the citizens of Texas.
We will work together to develop a reasonable plan that protects our core missions and preserves funds critical for strategic investment, while continuing to implement the needed efficiencies, revenue enhancements and cost reductions required. We are committed to keep you up to date on these important discussions and encourage your input as we look continuously at ways we can improve our overall efficiency and process improvements in every area of the university.