Larry George suggests:

I would add another methodology that might prove helpful: go back five or ten years until one finds an operating budget that is significantly below the target level of expenditure. Adjust for inflation and then use that model as the platform upon which to build a new realistic budget. If we go back to, say, 2000 levels of expenditures (making adjustments where they obviously have to be made) in the face of an economic crisis, we may not like it, but we can probably live with it, remembering that the college was a strong, wonderful institution in 2000.

Indeed. Consider the College’s spending (pdf) from 1999 to 2002. Click for a clear picture.

op20021

Compare that spending with the last 4 years.

op2008

Comments:

1) For now, I am still keeping with the Morty/Trustee position that there are no plans for lay-offs or decreases in financial aid. So, if you want to cut, the main categories above are where you need to start.

2) Although Morty is fine fellow and excellent president, there is little doubt that some of his popularity derives from his spending habits. My friends in the drunken sailor community would be appalled at this profligacy. Consider some of the increases (in millions) over the decade from 1999 to 2008:

Athletics: $3.5 to $6.3 (up 80%)
Libraries: $3.6 to $6.2 (up 72%)
Museum:    $1.4 to $2.6 (up 86%)

Inflation between 1999 and 2008 is about 28%. You can be sure that the incremental spending above that rate made the various constituencies very happy. No wonder Morty is so popular!

No doubt much of this money has been well spent. But, alas, Williams can no longer afford some of these luxuries. We need to dial back the budget. (See my previous comments on cutting the budgets for athletics and WCMA.) Looking to the budget in 1999, as Larry George suggests, is a good place to start.

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