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Davis, California

Friday, June 14, 2024

Editorial: State budget

The state of California is in deep fiscal trouble, and cuts will have to be made across the board. One sector that will see its state funding go down is higher education.

Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011-12 budget proposal, the University of California, Cal State University and California Community Colleges could get $1.4 billion less from Sacramento. Because of this, the UC system will face a guaranteed $500 million cut.

It could get worse. Despite a $6.6 billion increase in state revenue, if Brown’ proposed tax extensions aren’t passed, the cut to the UC could double to $1 billion. Brown’s budget summary acknowledges these cuts, but does very little to offer any type of support. It’s up to each campus and each educational system to figure it out on its own.

The UC will increase tuition by 8 percent in the fall. If the proposed tax extensions don’t get passed, there are talks of an additional 32 percent increase. This means students at UC Davis might pay $17,303 in tuition per year. There are few ways to express our distaste for this that don’t involve offensive curse words in bold face font. But we’re a professional publication.

If these increases go through, do not blame UC President Mark Yudof and the UC Board of Regents. Cutting Yudof’s pay won’t help reduce a $1 billion cut. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t get mad – on the contrary. Get mad at people who can control the situation.

The next round of tuition increases won’t be the UC’s fault – it will be due to the total lack of accountability in Sacramento. By virtually de-funding higher education without offering any suggestions to overcome the loss, state politicians are showing how little they value education after high school.

In fairness to Brown, he did propose giving an extra $2.4 billion to K-12 education – which accounts for over 43 percent of the budget.

However, it seems that politicians feel people will still seek a public higher education regardless of the price. This is likely not the case. As the state government continues to put higher education in a bind and tuition is hiked, it wouldn’t be surprising if fewer and fewer people attend these institutions. If there are fewer people getting a college education in California today, then there are fewer people that are educated enough to run the state tomorrow.

The eventual UC tuition increase will frustrate thousands of students across the state. They will have to pay more for public education that is seemingly getting less and less public.

Even though it will be Yudof and the Regents approving the tuition increase, it’s all they can do given the lack of constructive change going on in Sacramento.

2 COMMENTS

  1. @Lukacs –

    “What they fear is here. What they fear is the now-time of resistance and rebellion. What they fear is the unity of students, professors, instructors, and workers.”

    I would agree with your first two sentences. They fear that the voters, i.e. the constituents who benefit from the UC, are willing to increase the welfare dependence of this state on taxpayers and refuse to cut spending and programs elsewhere. Californians have continually believed that they can have this welfare state that depends on the infinite realm of taxpayer’s money, for which they can start their ‘rebellion’. This isn’t about social activism and protests. You’ve clearly had way too much “social rebellion works and all leaders are evil” Kool-Aid. Calm down, be fiscally responsible, vote fiscally responsible, and tighten your belt like everyone else. Do not vote to handcuff future generations with upcoming taxes so that we can afford to keep the UC and other programs running as-is for a few more years.

    In summation, my point is mainly that you make these grandiose claims of massive rebellion and protests but I feel you are misguided. Direct your protests at the voters who continue to support high taxes, huge government and spending, and never account for their actions fiscally. Responsibility starts with voting sensibly and common sense, in this age, should be leaning towards less spending and lower taxes. The UC can and will survive with cuts. Let’s be honest a majority of Californians are of the opinion that the UC system is ‘too big to fail’ (hmm where have we heard that before?) and would not let it collapse. That doesn’t mean that it needs to be skimmed. I don’t think we’re on different pages, but at the same time you gravely misdirect your anger at those who will a. never listen and b. cannot do much about it.

  2. Although it’s probably accurate to say Yudof and the Regents are not personally responsible for the state’s budgetary problems, there’s not a clear distinction between “Sacramento” and the university administrators. The regents are political appointees, meaning that “Sacramento” put them there, presumably because they can be counted on to carry out the project of turning a public resource (the UC) into an investment opportunity for the wealthy. Witness the appointment of regent Crane, a man who wants to take away workers’ pensions (i.e. their ability to retire) so his rich cronies can pay fewer taxes. Yudof is in charge of the UC because the regents admire his skill at convincing everyone that the problem lies elsewhere: with “Sacramento,” with the voters, with the economy. Never with the actual governing body of the university, though. The strategy of deflection isn’t really about blaming someone else; it’s about demobilizing popular anger at what’s being done to the university. If students and faculty can be convinced that making a stand where they learn, teach and live is a misguided effort, then those involved with looting the university and the state can breathe more easily. They know that it’s harder for thousands of students to mobilize in Sacramento than on campus. Normal operations can continue. This strategy is consistent with the administration’s constant invocation of “time, manner, and place” restrictions on so-called free speech. They will always make the claim that “concerns” are best addressed differently, somewhere else, at some unspecified future date. This is why they love to play the game of “give us your demands” and “designate a spokesperson.” It allows them to divide, divert and defer a mobilization to an imaginary future “elsewhere.” What they fear is here. What they fear is the now-time of resistance and rebellion. What they fear is the unity of students, professors, instructors, and workers.

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