May revision makes cuts to CA colleges, city of San Diego

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s May revision of the state budget, issued on May 13, promised no new taxes and included a wide array of cuts, including $1.3 billion less to local governments and $660 million less to higher education, including the University of California, as outlined in a previously brokered compact agreement with the governor.

    The $102.8 billion revised budget is $3.7 billion larger than the governor’s $99.1 billion January proposal. The new budget avoided cuts to healthcare originally proposed.

    Major cuts include $2 billion less to primary and secondary education and $476 million in cuts to prisons.

    The University of California’s budget will be cut from $2.9 billion to $2.67 billion. The May revision replicated the cuts to the UC system outlined in the compact agreement announced on May 11, which included 14-percent hikes to undergraduate tuition and 20-percent hikes for graduate students.

    The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on 2004-05 fee levels at its May 19 meeting.

    “We do believe that this coming budget year will still include some pain for the university and even in the university community, because the state is still facing a budget crisis,” UC spokesman Brad Hayward said. “We still did get most cuts outlined back in January, but thankfully they’re not any larger.”

    The revision also stipulates that the state will increase Cal Grant funding in order to cover the proposed 14-percent undergraduate fee increase. This funding was not included in the governor’s original proposal in January.

    “The commitment to cover the increase by Cal Grants is a big help,” UCSD Financial Aid Office Director Vince De Anda said.

    However, De Anda was disappointed with the governor’s proposal to redirect 20 to 33 percent of fees back into financial aid, explaining that the return-to-aid has always been set at 33 percent in the past.

    “That didn’t give us anything — frankly, we lost on that one,” he said.

    The revision indicates that the $4 million in UC internal funds to be restored to outreach will come from nonresident tuition as part of the $12 million put forth by the university itself for outreach programs.

    “This changes nothing from what was proposed in January,” Academic Success Program Director Terry Le said, adding that the funds were not sufficient. “Funding outreach continues to be taken up by the UCs, meaning something else in the budget must be compromised … I can only hope that support for this initiative to restore funding for outreach from the state will be found among our legislators and community.”

    Hayward said the university was hopeful that state funds for outreach would be negotiated back into the budget during the legislative process.

    The city of San Diego will suffer from cuts as well as part of the $1.3 billion taken from localities.

    In exchange, the governor promised to support a constitutional amendment that would put limits on the state’s ability to tap into local revenues beginning in 2006. If passed by the Legislature, voters will decide on the amendment in November.

    “With this agreement, I am keeping my promise to cities and counties to ensure that local governments have a reliable revenue stream to pay for local services,” Schwarzenegger said in a May 12 statement. “This agreement is another example of the new spirit of cooperation and a new respect between state and local governments in California.”

    According to the governor’s statement, the agreement will reduce replacement property taxes that cities receive by $700 million with the promise that the state will provide reimbursements of about $2.3 billion to local governments starting in 2006. While many local politicians have voiced their support for the agreement, others have expressed uncertainty regarding the long-term effects of the governor’s budget.

    According to political science professor Thad Kousser, an expert in California politics, the new plans could spell trouble for the governor.

    “Clearly this is one of the victories for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the short term,” Kousser said. “It allows him to make cuts in the short run without tax increases … but in the long term, he has created problems in that he hasn’t fixed California’s structural deficit and he hasn’t fixed the imbalance in deficit spending.”

    According to a statement released by San Diego City Councilman Jim Madaffer, who was among city representatives in Sacramento when the deal was made, the state has taken $350 million a year from the City of San Diego since 1994.

    Madaffer said that the agreement would ensure that funds taken by the state remain in San Diego. In the May 14 statement, he argued that the agreement would provide local governments a solid assurance that future funds will not be taken by the state.

    “It is unlikely this practice of feeding off of the local trough would ever end without these negotiated long-term protections for vital government services like police, fire, parks, libraries, road repairs, community service centers and more,” Madaffer said in the statement.

    However, Madaffer also said that he recognized that the city will be facing sacrifices in the next two years.

    “While these short-term sacrifices would undoubtedly impact us here at home, the long-term protections would provide much-needed fiscal stability at the local level and ensure we can continue funding the critical local services upon which our residents rely,” he stated.

    With the successful passage of Propositions 57 and 58 in March, experts are predicting that the governor’s support will help gain votes for the constitutional amendment.

    “The key thing is that Arnold [Schwarzenegger] pledged to support [the amendment],” Kousser said. “He proved with Propositions 57 and 58 where his personal support can go. This constitutional amendment is certain to not pass without the governor.”

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal