Running In The Red

Campus Issues: The ASUC needs to more realistically set the budget or cut their spending to avoid exceeding the contingency fund.

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It's hardly a surprise that the ASUC senate has yet again found itself in the position where it has to replenish its contingency fund due to unplanned for amounts of spending - this is a practice that has been going on for years.

However, what is surprising is that, after all this time, there are still no concrete plans to fully address the problem.

ASUC Finance Officer Anuj Kamdar warned the senate at its Feb. 16 meeting that it is depleting its contingency fund at an unsustainable level. The figures are alarming: In the first four weeks of this semester, the senate spent $24,109.85 - only approximately $1,600 less than it spent during all of last semester.

While the senate was able to write a bill transferring money from its reserve fund, the carry forward fund, relieving any immediate pressure, senators must realize that this is only a temporary solution and must finally tackle this recurring problem.

The practice of continually draining and then refilling the contingency fund brings into question how the contingency amount is determined in the first place. The ASUC should either be more realistic in their budgeting or curtail their spending to stay within their budgeted amount.

We're concerned that the current senators aren't doing enough to address the problem. While finance committee chair Rachel Horning has identified practices that would help address the problem, there is no indication that any rules or guidelines are being changed to ensure compliance.

The only firm step toward addressing the problem seems to be CalSERVE Senator Stefan Montouth's bill stipulating that allocation bills be submitted to the senate no later than the Tuesday before any event. This proposal, while common sense, won't singlehandedly solve the problems.

We want to see more concrete steps toward solving this problem, especially as this spring's allocation nears. The carry forward fund is a limited reserve - not an endless source of extra money - and in budgeting next year's contingency fund, senators shouldn't expect their successors to continue the tradition of regular bailouts.

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