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Updated: ASUA makes major cuts

The UA student government passed part of a yearly budget last night that included thousands of dollars in cuts to pay off the losses from last April's failed stadium concert.


The most noticeable and drastic cuts came within the special events budget, which was cut from $108,000 to about $15,000 - a $93,000 cut - at the student leaders' weekly meeting at the Student Union Memorial Center.


The Associated Students of the University of Arizona also saved $35,000 due to the university picking up the bill on the University Activities Board, which was moved outside of the ASUA offices.


Despite the heavy cuts, the student government will spend the next several years paying off the $900,000 that was lost on the springtime Arizona Stadium concert, sponsored by ASUA, that featured Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Third Eye Blind and The Veronicas.


ASUA had spent over $1.5 million on the concert, bringing in just $317,000 in merchandise and ticket sales. With their remaining funds frozen by the university, an extra $308,000 in emergency funds was used to help offset some of the losses.


In order for the student government to not be crippled by the remaining losses, ASUA has taken out two loans with the UofA Bookstore — a five-year loan worth $20,000 per year, and a six-year loan worth $150,000 per year.


With their funding cut by more than 80 percent, the special events section will take new approaches to during the year to bring events such as concerts to the student body, including entering in partnerships and sponsorships to pay off events, rather than paying completely out-of-pocket, said Clifton Harris, ASUA treasurer.


""We just don't have the room to take on that risk this year,"" he said. ""Hundreds of hours were spent…forming this budget.""


Executive budgets split Senate


While the ASUA Senate passed the majority of the 2009-10 budget, expense amounts tied to the executive operations budgets caused about a half hour of heated discussion between the senators.


The executive operations budget, which was $9,000 per executive last year, had been cut to $7,000 per executive in this year's proposed budget.


The president, executive vice president and administrative vice president have typically used the funds to pay for unforeseen expenses, such as last year's budget protest at the State Capitol.


Sen. David Wallace was concerned that having one individual in charge of $7,000 was fiscally irresponsible, especially since the money would be spent at each executive's single discretion, the senator said.


""I want to go back and see what money was spent on what to see what you guys actually need,"" he told his fellow senators. ""Just throwing money around is not fiscally responsible. You could spend it on anything, theoretically.""


The Senate chose to table the executive operations budget amounts for next week's meeting by a vote of 9-1. Sen. Stephen Wallace was the lone dissenter.


""I love you guys, but I want you guys to know I do not agree with the decision made today,"" he said.


Stephen Wallace also attempted to discount David Wallace's concerns by stating that since the treasurer was an Eller College of Management student, he knew more about financial situations than David Wallace, who is a biology major.


""You do not have the experience he has,"" Stephen Wallace told David Wallace.


Sen. Tyler Quilin stepped in to suggest that tabling the executive operations budget would be beneficial to all parties, as it would give everyone a week to reflect and contemplate which course of direction would be best for the budget, Quilin said.


""I see no harm in giving them another look,"" he said. ""I only see benefits."" ASUA President Chris Nagata was open to the suggestion, barring any unexpected situations over the next week that would need the executive operations expenses.


He did warn the Senate that they could be doing more harm than good if the executive operations budgets were adjusted.


""In the end, entities will suffer,"" Nagata said.


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