UA: The Tucson Beast Eating Arizona’s Budget

Arizona’s wildcat has become one fat tabby

UA mascot Wilbur the Wildcat [Photo via Facebook]

The University of Arizona (UA) budget for 2020 was $2.2 BILLION DOLLARS, up a full 200% from 4 years earlier (2016–$1.1B), or at a yearly compounded growth rate of 19%.   Arizona’s entire state budget for 2020 was slated to be $10.8 billion.

Due to COVID-19, the full adjusted UA & state revenues/expenditures for 2020 remain to be seen.

UA has over 12,600+ on its reported payroll, with an average pay of $73,332, and 2063 employees making more than $100,000/yr, with more than half of these over $250,000/yr.  Their argument has always been, “we have to pay this to attract the best & brightest” (Like Noam Chomsky, #1 Virtue Signal hire to the American Hard-Left).

Fine, so make them produce for Tucson’s & Arizona’s economy, like ASU is doing.

That $73K is 15% higher than the national average for all government employees, and full 36% higher than the average of all Arizona employees; also, UA had 81,759 total “Payroll Record events” for 2019. Go figure.

You can view more exact detail at the website

What piqued my interest here was four-fold.  First, was the breathtakingly abysmal local economic development record of UA in Tucson vs. ASU in Tempe; no big surprise since 80+% of the 47%  graduating UA (4yrs) left the “Dirty T” altogether.  And for obvious reasons.

Second, was the routine City of Tucson manipulation of UA monies & assets for various local Hard-Left subsidized schemes, as reported in Writ Large: UA Is The Tucson Left’s Milkcow.  And in a Metro of 1.1 million people, not a dinky, isolated college-town.

Thirdly, listening to the personal accounts of numerous researchers, who had obtained their own independent grant $$$ monies for various projects, only to have UA seize 65-75% as fully burdened overhead costs.  Can you say, “administrative bloat”?  This is far higher than even US Dept. of Energy National Labs like Los Alamos & Sandia.

Fourthly, was the incredibly lax oversight by the Arizona Legislature, and the UA Board of Regents.  Astonishing that a branch of Arizona state government was evidently allowed to initiate on its own, without any apparent or reported, official permission.

To wit: in mid-July, UA simply announced its legal office was suing the Federal Agency, ICE, over the recent ICE order pertaining to international student qualifications.  Whether legal or not, isn’t the Arizona Attorney General’s office supposed to do this kind of thing?  That’s what happens in other states.

Ditto just this week, UA announced they were buying a defunct online university from San Diego which had ditched 35,000+ students.   Not only assuming a litany of hidden liabilities, but also getting deeper into the online education game very late.  Such a deal!

I have to ask, what part of the Arizona state constitution transferred unilateral & independent powers to a lower-level subdivision branch of state government, which—all by itself–consumes 20% of annual state monies?

With the incredibly lax oversight here, we’re just asking for an economic train wreck that will destroy Arizona’s high credit ratings, and her excellent reputation as a lower-tax, pro-business state.

Sellers is a South Park Republican who lives in incorporated Oro Valley.  His background is federal tech-transfer commercialization. He is on Facebook.

About Bill Sellers 40 Articles
Sellers is a South Park Republican who lives in incorporated Oro Valley.  His background is federal tech-transfer commercialization.  Contact him at Sellers is also a grad of Clemson’s Architecture School and the University of NC School of Business. He was a founding member of the Albuquerque Friday Morning Breakfast Group (’82-’96) which elected numerous conservatives. He has lived in the SouthWest & PacNorthWest more than 40 yrs.