California has been holding its breath in anticipation of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for balancing the state budget this past week, hoping he will be the change the budget needs to keep from plummeting down the same course it has been for the past 10 years.
The announcement came on Monday and it was difficult for those affected to hear. The newly elected governor proposed $12.5 billion of cuts in state spending, translating to $500 million in cuts to the University of California system alone. This corresponds with another $500 million cut from the state system as well.
It is a one-time cut, but the governor expects its effects to last for years, and is asking for an extension of taxes for five years to smooth restructuring in the state.
It is still unclear how the university system will apportion the cutbacks, but it is certain that they will affect higher education students and their studies. The funds given by the state will have been cut by nearly two thousand dollars per student, according to the University of California website for budget news.
American studies was recently suspended indefinitely from the UCSC curriculum. With the announcement of these further cuts, more majors and areas of study could be progressively eliminated.
Brown’s plan stands in glaring opposition to one of Schwarzenegger’s final budget bills signed into law October of 2010, endowing the UC system with nearly $3 billion in funding.
“For 10 years, this state has put together its budget with gimmicks and tricks and unrealistic expectations that have pushed this state deeper and deeper into debt,” Brown said in his speech Monday. “It’s time now to restore California to fiscal solvency and put us on the road to economic recovery and jobs.”
When it passed, Schwarzenegger’s budget bill still could not compensate for the cuts that had been made in previous years under his supervision, restoring only $200 million in permanent state funding to UCSC and $106 million in one-time federal stimulus funds to the UC system. Even just the year before, the UC system faced a $305 million one-time cut.
Further, with Brown’s budget proposal the university system in California would, for the first time in the history of that system, be given less support from the state than it would be given monetary support through student fees and UC general funds, according to the University of California website.
Higher education wasn’t the only institution targeted. Medi-Cal was cut by $1.6 billion, CalWORKs by $1.5 billion, developmental services by $750 million and In Home Support Services by $500 million.
Based on the supposition that Brown’s budget proposal will pass, UC Santa Cruz has planned to outline how it will deal with these cuts by March 1.
“As a campus, we have weathered deep cuts before, always managing to preserve the integrity of this beloved institution,” Chancellor George Blumenthal said in an e-mail to the UCSC community. “Our collective efforts are essential to our ability to make these reductions without eroding our accessibility, distinctiveness and excellence.”