California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the state legislature’s proposed 2011-2012 budget last Friday to prevent a revised $650 million cut to UC funding.
Brown shot down the proposal — which called for an additional $150 million slash in UC funding on top of the $500 million reduction the university is already expected to undergo — as unrealistic and requested Republican representatives accept tax extensions to balance the state’s $10 billion deficit. The UC Board of Regents approved an eight percent fee hike during their May 17-18 meeting to account for up to $1 billion in budget shortcomings.
In a June 15 statement in response to Brown’s veto, UC President Mark Yudof said the reductions threaten the educational quality of the public institution.
“If this budget plan stands, the likely result will be a double digit tuition increase on top of the 8 percent hike already approved for next year,” Yudof said in the statement. “And to require UC to carry a $500 million ‘loan’ balance into fiscal year 2012-13 becausethe state can’t provide UC with the fully budgeted allocation will only force the university to incur extra costs that are passed on to students and their parents.”
According to UC Office of the President spokesperson Steve Montiel, UC Regents would likely propose extra tuition increases mid-year if the finalized budget includes additional cuts to the initial $500 million reduction.
“We are already prepared to absorb the $500 million budget cuts that are inevitable,” Montiel said. “We are cut to the bone already. What we would like is long-term stability and predictability in funding from the state so that students and their families can plan for the future without continual fee hikes.”
Montiel said Regents is developing a five-year plan to retain the current level of enrollment without raising fees or compromising the university’s academic quality.
UC Regents discussed four hypothetical budget scenarios to cover additional funding shortfalls at their May meeting, including raising tuition from eight percent to 20 percent each year until 2016.
Lakesha Harrison — International Vice President of the UC workers union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — said further cuts negatively impact employees and students.
“I do believe in holding the UC accountable for the funds it does get,” Harrison said. “However, these kinds of cuts are not healthy for the workforce, the students or the institution as a whole.”
The AFSCME issued a press release stating the vetoed budget — which included provisions guaranteeing state money is not used to support UC intercollegiate sports programs and the elimination of higher spending on UC executive salaries — succeeded in prioritizing the system’s finances to an extent.
Diane Klein, spokeswoman for the UC Office of the President, said the state corrected the provision regarding athletics to guarantee UC sports are not state-funded.
“During a state audit, it was discovered that sports was listed as an auxiliary when it’s not and should’ve been listed under student service fees,” Klein said. “It was a clerical error and we changed it.