According to the data from the Government and Community Relations Department for the University of Minnesota System, the system produces more than $8.6 billion a year in economic activity in the state, supporting more than 77,000 jobs and generates more than $470 million in state taxes.
On Wednesday, J.D. Burton, Chief Government Relations Officer for the UMN System, visited Crookston to share the 2020-21 biennial budget request and 2019 capital request with Faculty and Staff at UMC. The biennial budget request totals $87 million with a $30 million increase in 2020 and an additional increase of $27 million to the annual state appropriated budget in 2021.
Research shows someone is more likely to believe someone they know then an expert says Burton, and he encouraged UMC to reach out to their state representatives and senators. “An equal amount of people across the United States will believe their neighbor on the other side of the fence then someone who may have expertise in that topical area,” said Burton. “Your legislators, in particular, are going to be more apt to believe someone that they know someone versus someone they may not know, even if that person is an expert in their field. $87 million is a big number, but in comparison, Minnesota State’s number is $246 million, and the board made the decision that focusing on our core needs was the appropriate step forward this year for the University.”
Burton also shared the 2019 capital request totaling $232.2 million, of which $200 million going to Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement to maximize the effectiveness and life of existing infrastructure for health, safety and accessibility, building systems, utility infrastructure, and energy efficiency. “There are a few other projects on the list; there is a Child Development Program on the Twin Cities campus. The Institute for Child Development Program in Development Psychology is the number one program in the country, and so this building is quite a need for them to continue their work,” said Burton. “And then the last project is up at Duluth at A.B. Anderson. The Crookston Project that was funded last year was part of a series of three projects at Crookston, Morris, and Duluth. The legislature funded the Crookston project and the Morris project but not the Duluth project.”
The Child Development Building Replacement request is asking for $28 million from the state with a $14 million investment by the University of Minnesota system. The A.B. Anderson Hall Renovation, which hosts communication, philosophy, history, and art, needs updates to the mechanical and life safety systems in the hall will total $6.4 million, with a $4.3 million request from the state.
The Duluth project is part of the Greater Minnesota Academic Renewal Program presented last year which included Crookston. Crookston received funding for the new Center of Collaborative Research which opened this fall, in which one of the primary uses is for the study of freshwater sponges to understand what they tell us about the water quality in Minnesota. Also included were lab stations for Dowell hall for STEM Education, computational research and teacher education.