MNM: The Impact of ETBU Goes Well Beyond Cultural Matters
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER EDITORIAL PAGE (5/8/13) - We don’t know how many of our readers saw a story in last week’s Marshall News Messenger about the board of trustees at East Texas Baptist University approving a budget for the next fiscal year that totaled $39.5 million, almost an 11 percent increase over the current budget.
This is significant on a number of fronts, some obvious, others not so much.
On the obvious front is the fact that ETBU is a rapidly growing institution. For private universities, increases in the operating budget are certainly not a given. For a board to agree to pass such a budget, trustees have to agree that the funding is in place and assured beyond a reasonable doubt.
For as long as we have been aware, ETBU has always operated in a fiscally conservative manner from the president on down and that has not changed. When it comes to spending, the university is not going to be in a "stretch” mode. That is one of the reason Marshall citizens can be sure that it will be around for as long as we can see into the future.
Still, it would not be rare to see the university present a budget that was a modest increase over the previous year, say 2 percent or even 4 percent. That would account for the prices of goods and services rising over the year and include just a small amount for growth.
But 11 percent, that is a real indicator that ETBU is not just healthy. It is experiencing a major growth spurt. With a budget of $39.5 million, that 11 percent represents an increase of about $4 million.
This is a big deal.
From the not-so-obvious department is what this budget means for Marshall and Harrison County.
Often we consider ETBU’s contributions in a cultural sense and, for a fact, there is a huge benefit in that area. However, we should not overlook what they bring to us in a financial sense, either. Of that $39.5 million, the vast majority is circulated right here in Harrison County.
If you take the accepted multiplier estimate that each dollar turns over seven times within a community, then that would put ETBU’s financial impact from next year’s budget to be somewhat more than $250 million.
We don’t have that many businesses in town that make such an impact and none that make the kind of overall impact in both the cultural and financial areas.
So we best take care of ETBU and show it all the love that it shows this community.
(Used by permission www.marshallnewsmessenger.com)