A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke
As Indiana's leaders prepare for a legislative session that will have historic impact for our state, Purdue is working to provide information about its budget concerns to members of the General Assembly and to Gov. Mitch Daniels' new executive team. While the state faces a budget deficit estimated at $600 million, the governor and Legislature will seek to add momentum to the economic recovery that finally has begun for Indiana. Our state can't afford to just get by with a balanced budget. It's time to invest in our future. Reaching that goal will be a significant challenge for our leadership.
The centerpiece of Purdue's biennial budget request to the state is a multifaceted initiative called Advancing Indiana's Manufacturing. AIM is designed to boost the state's largest economic sector. With 11,000 manufacturing companies and nearly 300,000 employees, this sector represents almost 20 percent of the state economy. It is essential that we strengthen the traditional manufacturing base by enhancing its application of advanced technology. We also need to nurture new businesses that utilize techniques such as nanotechnology. AIM includes these components:
The Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM). Purdue established CAM with the reallocation of some of its own funds and $2.25 million in federal support. The program will be a resource for existing companies and also will help attract new manufacturing businesses to Indiana. However, to achieve its potential, CAM needs state support.
Technical Assistance Program (TAP) expansion. Since its founding in 1986, TAP completed more than 5,300 projects assisting Indiana companies. More than 450 firms used its services in 2003-2004. Its High Tech Job Fair is a significant factor in keeping Purdue graduates in Indiana. Additional state support will help expand TAP's operations to Hammond, South Bend, Fort Wayne, New Albany and Vincennes.
Industrial Technology Bachelor's Degree. With additional support, Purdue's College of Technology can help meet the growing demand for this professional specialty by expanding the program to seven statewide locations.
Rural Economic Development. Through a program called New Ventures, Purdue Extension educators and specialists are working to develop enterprises that produce food and agricultural based products for consumers and industry. The initiative has the potential to boost and diversify the agricultural sector of the economy.
Regional Manufacturing Focus. This initiative will support manufacturers at the regional level by coordinating the resources of CAM; TAP; Purdue's regional campuses in Hammond, Westville and Fort Wayne; the new Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana in Merrillville; and the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.
Purdue is asking the state to invest a total of $5 million in the five components of the AIM initiative. I am certain the university will deliver a very significant return on this investment in the form of new jobs and a healthier economy.
In addition to adjustments for enrollment growth on the regional campuses and a 3 percent inflation adjustment to maintain current operations, Purdue will ask the state to support the operation of new facilities, including the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Bindley Bioscience Center, the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization and the Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering addition. Each of these facilities valued in aggregate at more than $100 million will play a role in Indiana's economic development, and they are being constructed almost entirely with funds Purdue raised from private sources.
Another important piece of the university's request is funding for repair and rehabilitation of facilities. This is a matter of grave concern. The state's formula calls for Purdue to receive $30 million annually for R&R, but the formula has not been funded fully for over 10 years, and we now have a significant deferred maintenance problem.
We estimate that Purdue is about $116.5 million behind in deferred maintenance and faces a $293.5 million backlog in renovations and rehabilitations. If the state is not able to further address this issue, we run the risk of jeopardizing one of Indiana's greatest resources. The university's budget request asks the state to resume funding the R&R formula.
Finding the resources for any new funding will be very difficult for our state's leaders, but I believe strategic investments in our future are crucial, and Purdue is positioned to play a vital role in Indiana's future economy.
On December 19, Purdue lost one of its giants when Nobel laureate Herb Brown passed away at age 92. Awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his pioneering work with boron compounds, Dr. Brown was a dedicated teacher, beloved by his students with whom he worked until the last days of his life. Purdue will miss him deeply.
Although the outcome of the Sun Bowl game on New Year's Eve was not what Boilermaker fans wanted, those of us who traveled to El Paso were treated to warm hospitality, beautiful weather and skillfully managed events. Joe Tiller's team gave us a great season with a lot of entertainment and an enjoyable end to 2004.
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