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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Noir Track Intact

The California state legislature is set to adjourn without a budget. UC officials remain guardedly optimistic that last year's "one-time" cut of $305 million will be restored.  Regent Chair Russell Gould informed the Commission on the Future two weeks ago that "the state is listening."  The Conference Committee documents on the state's education sectors still show a split between the Assembly and the Senate on sources and conditions of this backfill,  on a partial buy-out of the Governor's 15% fee hike, and on striking legislative language blocking state funding of employer contributions to the pension (pp 31-37). And these items have not yet gotten close to a full vote.

Judging from our mail,  faculty and staff are less optimistic than are Regent Gould and other senior managers.  The following is a particularly vivid reminder of the gap between the experience of Regents' meetings and the experiences occurring on the campuses.
Hi Chris,

The (fairly obvious) scenario I fear is the following:

1) Schwarzenegger's $300 M for UC in his revised budget will disappear in Sacramento negotiations, presented as it was as directly at the expense of California's poor and dependent populations

2) Moreover, as you have suggested, the legislators will take UC CFO Peter Taylor's proposal seriously concerning UC's ability to save $500 M through efficiency measures and will therefore see even less of a need to restore the 20% cut to the 2009-10 budget.

3) the Gould Commission proposals, replaced in large part by UCOP's supplemental proposals, will go to the Regents in July.  Under the influence of ongoing budgetary confusion, the Regents will proceed to ignore the better proposals and to decide very brutal cuts across the board with no reconsideration of implementing a revised furlough program to soften the cuts.

4) By late summer, each campus will face 15% cuts (or higher) to academic core operating budgets and within each campus, many depts. will face the prospect of a drop in quality in grad and undergrad programs from which it will take many years to recover. One possible outcome: these dire circumstances will force campuses to raid "rainy day funds" and "profit centers" to make in through the year 2010-11, resulting in smaller (5%? 7.5%?) cuts.

5) Meanwhile, civil war will break out between campuses over ICR, UCOP "taxes," etc. radicalizing the push by UCB, UCLA, and UCSD to go it alone and to try to adopt the flawed Michigan model.


Anonymous said...

Not to mention that the Governor's budget was contingent on several billions' worth of federal aid, which has virtually zero chance of ever materializing. UCOP must know this, so why are they "optimistic" about getting the $305 million backfill?

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