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The Daily Tar Heel

Pass the bills, please: Student Congress’ reform of the budgeting process will be bene?cial; fee bill should also be supported

Student Congress produced some well-written bills this legislative cycle.

While we’re not on board with all of them, there are two bills Congress members should definitely pass Tuesday.

One bill increases the student organizations fee, and another reworks the annual budget process. Congress’ budget process has needed change for some time, and Congress has finally taken on the task.

Currently, student groups that want student fee money have to submit their expenses for the next academic year during the spring annual budget process.

Congress distributes 80 percent of funds during this time and saves the rest for requests that come up during the next year.

This bill would change that.

Instead of distributing most of the money in the spring, Congress would distribute money in three different segments: 35 percent during the annual budget process, and 65 percent split equally between the fall and spring semesters.

The change will provide much more flexibility for student groups. They can use the annual budget process to get funds for their basic needs. And if a group decides in September to bring a speaker to campus, it will be easier for Congress to fund the event if the bill is successful.

The budget changes will make it easier for Congress to ensure student fee money is being put to good use.

Our support for the student fee is linked to the reform of the budget process. Because of the budgeting changes, we support Congress’ attempt to raise the student organizations fee, which Congress then allocates to student groups, by $3. An increase would still have to pass a student referendum.

It’s time for an increase. The number of student groups on campus has grown, but the available money hasn’t since 2003-04.

We don’t agree with every bill Congress has produced this cycle. But members have done some good work, and they should pass the budget reforms and the student fee referendum.

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