Lawmakers query UNC system fundraising cap

Posted March 10, 2015

— A proposal by Gov. Pat McCrory to cap university use of taxpayer dollars for fundraising prompted a lot of questions from lawmakers Tuesday morning.

McCrory's budget chief Lee Roberts met with the joint House and Senate Appropriations committees to go through the governor's proposal, released last week.

One proposal would put a $1 million cap on the amount of state funding each of the 16 University of North Carolina schools can use to raise private money. Schools would have to use private contributions or other sources to cover the rest of their development expenses.

In 2012-13, Roberts said, $32.6 million was budgeted for fundraising for UNC system schools.

The school that would be most affected, he said, would be North Carolina State University, which would lose about $5.8 million in state fundraising money. East Carolina University and UNC-Greensboro would take a hit of about $3 million each.

Overall, the cap would save the state about $18 million, Roberts said. But several lawmakers expressed concerns about the proposal's potential effect on universities' bottom lines.

Rep. Brian Turner, D-Buncombe, formerly a vice chancellor in development at UNC-Asheville, asked why the state would cut support for private fundraising at a time when universities are struggling to raise money to cover years of state funding cuts.

"Was an analysis done to see how this would affect their ability to generate private dollars in support of their missions?" Turner asked.

"The larger the impact on the university, the more money they’re raising," Roberts said, noting that N.C. State spent $7 million last year to raise $130 million.

"They can fund that fundraising effort from the funds that they raise, just like every private-sector organization does,” Roberts said.


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