California Gov. Jerry Brown released his revised 2011-12 state budget yesterday, maintaining a proposed $500 million in cuts to state funding for the UC system.
The budget will rely on tax extensions, spending reductions and $6.6 billion in unanticipated revenue to account for the state’s $15.4 billion deficit and to spare higher education from further financial shortfalls. However, slashes to UC state funding could double to $1 billion — possibly requiring further tuition hikes — if predicted spending and tax measurements prove to be unsuccessful.
UC President Mark G. Yudof said additional cutbacks would place an overwhelming burden on the already financially constrained school system.
“A cut of this magnitude 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 said in a statement released in response to the revised budget.
According to Yudof, students would likely shoulder the costs of closing the budget gap.
“We have been engaged in a three-year exercise in coping with wholesale cutbacks, and by now the magic bullets all have been spent,” Yudof said. “What this reduction most likely would mean, as the governor noted, is the need to yet again raise tuition.”
Additionally, the potential $1 billion reduction would impact campus faculty, staff and facilities, Yudof said.
“Doubling the cut would reduce the state’s contribution to the university’s core funds — monies that pay professors and staff members, light the libraries, maintain the campuses, and all the rest — to roughly $2 billion,” Yudof said. “State funding of UC at this diminished level has not been seen since the early 1990s, a time when the university enrolled 80,000 fewer students.”
According to UC Office of the President Media Specialist Steve Montiel, the UC Board of Regents will discuss possible solutions to the current proposed budget figures at their meeting today and tomorrow at UC San Francisco Mission Bay.
“The governor has now proposed a billion dollars in cuts that would be necessary if tax extensions aren’t covered,” Montiel said. “The options that are going to be discussed at the Regents’ meeting on Wednesday are based off a $500 million cut and what we can do for options over the next five years to maintain quality, access and affordability as best we can.”