Governor Proposes New Cuts in Budget Revision

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University officials and students are voicing concern over deep cuts to the UC system proposed in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revision to the state budget, which was unveiled Thursday in Sacramento.

Schwarzenegger released two proposed revisions last week-one of which outlines the fiscal scenario the state could face if Propositions 1A-1E fail in Tuesday's Statewide Special Election.

If the measures should pass, Schwarzenegger said the state will face a projected $15.4 billion deficit by the end of June, an amount compounded by lesser-than-expected tax revenue.

Of that budget shortfall, the state will cut $6.4 billion in spending to education-including $1.1 billion to the UC and CSU systems.

The measures are projected to save the state from taking out $6 billion in short-term loans.

However, if the measures should fail, Schwarzenegger said the two university systems would face additional cuts of $200 million.

Additionally, K-12 education and California community colleges would receive a $5.3 billion cut in the event that voters reject the propositions.

The university learned about the cuts as they were released to the public Thursday, said UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez.

"These proposed cuts are severe and would definitely have an effect on the students and the faculty and staff," he said, "and ultimately on the level of the quality service that the university provides to students and the state of California."

In a statement released following the governor's announcement, UC President Mark Yudof said the university will have to fee increases and more seriously consider enacting mandatory employee furloughs.

"If these cuts are implemented, we will have to look at a wide variety of unpleasant options to close our budget gap in the coming years," he said in the statement, "from enrollment and student fee levels to class sizes, academic program offerings, and availability of campus services for students."

While the UC system will be compensated by federal stimulus funding, Yudof said in the statement that the university may have to face a net funding reduction of $125 million even if the propositions pass.

UC Berkeley junior Dominic Gomes said that he would be willing to pay more in order to ensure that quality education on campus is maintained.

"Personally I'd be willing to pay more money if it means a quality of education," he said. "They should increase tuition to the point where they don't have to cut back on classes."

However, junior Ashkan Zarnighian said keeping student fees low should be a priority for the university.

"I would prefer to have lower quality over higher cost because I would prefer to have an affordable education," he said. "UC Berkeley is so far ahead anyway."

Beyond cuts to education, the state may also have to borrow $2 billion from local governments, cutting municipal services, according to Schwarzenegger.

"This goes for the very heart of our communities: our fire departments, our police officers, our parks, libraries and so on," he said. "But these are the numbers and they don't lie."

Tomer Ovadia of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.

Tags: CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATURE, MAY REVISION


Zach A. Williams is the news editor. Contact him at [email protected]



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