Friday, January 26, 2007

Budget Battles, Redux

As good an update as any. As some of you may have read, RHIC is once again in the news. Not for new discoveries or technical progress, but because, once again, our funding is at peril, just as it was at the end of 2005. And the reason is the same, since the new congress has neglected to pass a 2007 budget at all, instead letting the government coast on a "continuing resolution" that nominally keeps all programs funded at last year's levels. Of course, with the normal rate of inflation, this translates into a 3-4% cut. On top of that, the '06 budget was notoriously stingy to RHIC science, requiring an infusion of $13M from private investors who realized that the return to investment was enormous (i.e. by investing less than 10% of the operating budget, they would be responsible for making good on a full year's operation). Anyway, no-one expects a similar Hollywood Ending this year, so an entire RHIC year remains on the block.


Unless the Congress can pass legislation modifying the continuing resolution to allow reallocation of money within the Department of Energy. The money exists (leftover from completed projects) and it's just a matter of Congressional effort now.

Stay tuned.

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