Updated 5/19/2011 at 1:25am
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his latest budget proposal on Monday. Lawmakers have until June 15 to approve a budget.
Brown’s May revision includes a $500 million cut to the UC — the same amount that was slated in his January budget.
“There is value to come out of predictability,” said UC Santa Cruz executive vice chancellor Alison Galloway in a budget conversation with students held on Wednesday on Brown’s effort to balance the state budget. “If this change brings some predictability, that would be an immense load off our minds.”
Brown proposed a budget of $88.8 billion. In addition, a surprise $6.6 billion in revenue is expected to come in over the next year. Increased revenue and already-enacted spending cuts have also reduced the projected size of the state deﬁcit to $9.6 billion.
His new plan still calls for an extension of taxes — projected to raise $9.3 billion — which are set to expire in July, and couples this extension with a $2.6 billion cut in spending. The taxes themselves are sales taxes and vehicle license taxes that would get a ﬁve-year extension. Additionally, a four-year extension on personal income taxes would go into effect in 2012 if Brown’s proposal goes through.
For the tax extensions to pass, they must ﬁrst be approved by the state legislature, and then passed by state voters.
An all-cuts budget may still occur, which Brown warns, will hit public education especially hard — his plan asserts cuts in state funding to the UC in this case would be doubled to $1 billion.
Based on the governor’s May revise, UCSC is planning to cope with the $500 million cut. Vice chancellor of planning and budget Peggy Delaney said during the conversation with Galloway and students that absorbing this magnitude will be “deep and devastating to every aspect of this institution.”
Galloway said coping with a $1 billion cut would be unsustainable for the university.
UC president Mark Yudof’s statement released Monday in response to Brown’s plan echoed this sentiment. He said an all-cuts budget would be “unconscionable — to the university, its students and families, and to the state that it has served for nearly a century and a half.”
Yudof and Galloway have acknowledged that reductions in state funding from an all-cuts budget would likely result in further tuition hikes.
Contrary to what some expected, Brown’s proposed budget is a mix of extended taxes and some cuts — not nearly as draconian as some feared. The current proposed budget adds $3 billion to what Brown originally proposed spending on education, though this is still $4 billion below 2007–2008 levels.
In an April Q&A, Chancellor George Blumenthal and executive vice chancellor Alison Galloway commented on what they feel certain cuts would do to the UC system, and UCSC in particular.
“I really don’t believe that the campus can responsibly take cuts of that magnitude and still maintain the kind of student experience that you’ve come to expect. I think that the responses will have to be systemic — there will have to be a major effort to bring additional money into the system, and that’ll have to be done on a systemwide basis,” said Blumenthal of the possibility of the UC system suffering a $1 billion hit.
Galloway also made it clear that the administration was taking the possibility of massive cuts seriously.
“Just right now, we have policies in all the principal ofﬁces with what they think they’re going to cut,” Galloway said, “and what we’re doing right now is cross-reading those, so that no unit ﬁnds that a service upon which it depended is gone, or that they have been landed with expenses that they didn’t anticipate.”
A statement made by Brown on April 5 of this year, that “the university is an engine of wealth creation,” mirrors Blumenthal’s opinion of the role of the UC system, but Blumenthal has his doubts about the foresight of California legislators.
“I believe it’s true that for every dollar invested in UC, in the long run [it] repays that investment many times over,” he said. “It’s a great investment for the state of California. The reason they don’t do it is because they need the money now, and they’re not so worried about the future. I think it’s shortsighted.”
Governor Brown’s revised proposal can be read in its entirety at http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/
For UC President Mark Yudof’s full statement on the proposed budget, go to http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/25564