UC Santa Cruz students had only been on winter break for a few days when Gov. Jerry Brown slashed the UC budget by another $100 million on Dec. 13, bringing systemwide budget cuts to $750 million for the fiscal year.
With state revenues falling more than $2.2 billion short of projections, Brown enacted the June state budget’s planned trigger cuts to both education and social services.
The cuts to UC would not be passed on to individual campuses, according to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel, and would instead by absorbed by the UC Office of the President.
“These cuts, they’re not good,” Brown said in a press conference. “This is not the way we’d like to run California, but we have to live within our means.”
In more recent news, the cut to the UC budget (permanent or not) could see some relief to the tune of $90 million in state funding if Brown’s budget proposal, released last week, is enacted.
This increase would rely on Californians voting yes on a tax measure that would enact an income tax surcharge on the state’s highest earners and a half-cent sales tax boost, generating about $7 billion in extra revenue for the state’s education and public safety programs, according to the governor’s office.
If voters vote down this proposal, the $100 million in cuts could become permanent, and the UC will face an additional $200 million in trigger cuts.
The proposal faces a few obstacles before voters can even vote on it. After last year’s failed push for a tax extension, this new measure would need more than 500,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot in November. If the signatures are collected voters could pass the revenue hike proposal by a simple majority.
Student regent Alfredo Mireles is cautiously optimistic about the governor’s budget proposal and tax hike initiative.
“It’s much better than it could have been,” Mireles said to UCLA’s Daily Bruin on Jan. 9. “What [the UC Board of Regents] can do is show our gratitude by supporting the governor’s tax measures, continue to make the case to the governor and the legislature on why we need the money.”
In his budget cover letter the governor offered words in line with Mireles’ cautious optimism.
“This ballot measure will not solve all of our fiscal problems, but it will stop further cuts to education and public safety and halt the trend of double-digit tuition increases.”