Thursday, July 7, 2011
Sad News Regarding Higher Education in California... :(
From a letter I received via email on Wednesday, July 6th from California Assembly Woman Nancy Skinner:
On June 30, Governor Brown signed California’s budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which began on July 1. Thanks to the voters’ approval of Proposition 25 last November, the Legislature was able to pass by majority vote a budget that was both balanced and on time. It is very important that advocates for higher education in our state understand what effects the budget will have on the UC and CSU systems.
Unfortunately, without the support of any Republican legislators, the Governor was not able to get the extension of existing sales and income tax rates as he had sought since the start of his term. These extensions would have brought in revenue that could have prevented cuts to UC and CSU campuses and allowed us to increase funding for K-12 education. Republican support was necessary because all legislative action to increase or extend taxes still requires a two-thirds vote.
The 2011-2012 budget includes a number of reductions to California’s public higher education system. The budget that the Governor approved contains an additional $150 million reduction in funding for the UC system and for the CSU system. When combined with reductions approved in March, the total reductions for each system comes to $650 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The budget also assumes that current economic trends will continue and that the state will take in an additional $4 billion in revenue in the upcoming year. If revenue falls short of this estimation, however, a number of programs will be subject to additional cuts. If revenues are $1 billion or more below this estimation, the UC and CSU systems will each be subject to an additional $100 million reduction.
Beginning in the fall of 2011, student fee increases that were approved by the UC Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees last year will go into effect. It is now likely that student fees will be increased further to offset the additional cuts. UC President Mark Yudof and CSU Chancellor Charles Reed have announced their intentions to propose further student fee increases of around 9.6% for the UC and 12% for the CSU.
Because the Legislature had to close this year’s sizeable budget deficit and was unable to extend income and sales tax rates, many important state services, including higher education, have lost funding, have been reduced in size or scope, or have been eliminated. I did not want to make these cuts. I have always been, and will continue to be, committed to the principle that our state’s higher education system is the economic engine that drives our economy and educates our future leaders.
The UC and CSU communities – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their supporters – must organize to fight for new revenue. As your representative, I will continue to look for ways to restore UC and CSU funding, and am eager to work with advocates for higher education.
As always, I welcome your comments and concerns. It is an honor to represent you in Sacramento.
Assemblymember, 14th District