Editorial: State Must Do More to Avoid UC Budget Cuts

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UC outreach and research programs are already suffering financially, but California's recent budget cuts give these programs an even more unceratain future.

In passing the 2002-03 state budget, the California Legislature cut funding to UC $120 million. Such an action is expected considering the state's $24 billion budget shortfall.

But in passing the cuts, the Legislature skirted around a crucial aspect of softening the blow of such an enourmous deficit: It did not raise any taxes to make a dent in UC's budget losses.

As politically unpopular a tax hike would be-especially in an election year-the state must look for ways to maintain UC's excellence. The fact that the state Legislature avoided political conflict in lieu of severe higher education budget cuts reveals the level of priority it places on maintaining educational excellence.

The state needs to realize that UC outreach and research budget cuts have ramifications beyond the year in which the cuts are implemented. If the state continues to rely on slashing higher education funds in the future, UC's academic reputation may be put in jeopardy.

The members the state Legislature need to set political goals aside in remedying California's budget deficit-the future of UC's excellence is at stake.


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