Should votes reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax extensions in June, the state of the University of California is likely to look grimmer.
The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO), a nonpartisan advisory group, recently released budget suggestions for Brown and the California Legislature should the taxes not continue.
“It would mean changes; it would mean that faculty would have less time to spend doing their own research. It would mean students would be paying more money to go to the university, even more than what’s already been planned for the fall,” said Steve Biolard, director of higher education at the LAO. “It would diminish what UC is.”
For the UC system, the list suggested an increase of tuition by 7 percent, a reduction of financial aid funds by 5 percent, a reduction of operation expenses by 5 percent and a reduction of personnel costs by 10 percent.
Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor for Budget Resource and Management, said that the 5 percent reduction in the university financial aid would yield approximately $3 million for UC Davis. However, this reduction, along with the other suggestions, would have a largely negative effect on students on campus, Biolard said.
“You can’t cut hundreds of millions of dollars without it having some kind of a negative effect. What we were trying to do was, if there did happen to be cuts, what would be the least disruptive ways to do that,” Biolard said.
Biolard said that while the cuts might seem harsh, the LAO did try to focus on moving cuts away from undergraduate instruction.
“We tried to focus reductions more in the areas of research, as well as further student tuition increases and require faculty to teach more classes,” Biolard said.
LAO’s suggestions to reducing personnel would have dramatic effects on campus, Ratliff said.
“A reduction of roughly 10 percent would be about 320 staff positions, which would be a big impact on the university. If tax extensions fail, that would be on top of the losses that we’re already anticipating just to grapple with the shortfalls that are already proposed,” Ratliff said.
Leslie Sepuka, UC spokesperson, said that UC is currently focusing on immediate problems, rather than worrying about potential issues in the future.
“Rather than speculating about what might happen in June, the UC Office of the President and campuses are focusing on the proposed cut of $500 million,” Sepuka said.
Budget options will be discussed further at the UC Board of Regents meeting March 15 to 17 in UCSF Mission Bay.
LAO’s list also included similar suggestions for the California State University system, such as increasing tuition by 10 percent and reducing enrollment by 5 percent. The list also included cuts to K-12 education, the public safety system and health and social services.
HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at email@example.com.