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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

She Knows There's No Success Like Failure And That Failure's No Success At All

So it appears that we will have a budget either today or tomorrow.  The Governor has given up his search for phantom Republican support and has agreed to sign a slightly modified version of the budget that the Democrats in the Legislature passed a few weeks ago.  It is not a pretty picture.

  • The new budget agreement is built upon the cuts that were already imposed in March.  For Higher Ed this fact means $500 Million in cuts for UC and CSU each as well $400 Million cut for the Community College System.  The budget does nothing that I can see to restore funding for health care for the poor and elderly, continues to squeeze the K-12 system, significantly cuts the Calworks program, and accepts the cuts to the state's Court systems.
  • Based on additional revenues that have come to the state so far this year, the budget assumes a very optimistic revenue scenario for the rest of the year.  But if the revenue estimates prove unrealistic then there are triggers for additional cuts.  These include an additional $100 Million in cuts for both UC and CSU, the possibility of further cuts to K-12 and a further shortening of the school year.  
  • As a result, it is more than conceivable then that both UC and CSU will end up with $750 Million dollars in cuts by the end of the fiscal year.   
  • Brown and the Democrats are talking about putting revenue initiatives on the ballot in November of 2012.  The Republicans are sure to counter with attacks on pensions and calls for a strict spending cap.  It will be a very difficult election battle and one that everyone needs to attend to.
  • Indeed, perhaps the only success in this failure is that the Republicans were so zealous in their refusal to consider having an election on Brown's tax extensions (a vote there was no guarantee Brown would carry this fall) that Brown did not give them their demands on pensions and spending caps.  The latter in particular would have ensured the decay of governmental services in the state and would have, almost inevitably destroyed what remains of public K-12 education. 
Brown has effectively wasted the first 6 months of his second governorship.  Rather than taking the opportunity to challenge the status quo and inequalities of California's political economy he helped entrench them even more.  The only success here is that the Republicans failed to impose their vision on long-term governmental budgeting.  But that isn't much to claim.

6 comments:

Chris Newfield said...

Michael, thanks. This keeps happening because there are zero negative political consequences for cutting higher ed for the Dems that do it. They know UC senior management won't do or say anything bad -- Regent chair Gould forbade opposition to cuts as unrealistic at the March Regents meeting, and was backed up by Blum and Crane among others. VP Lenz sent around an email last month saying that legislators don't believe cuts reduce funding per student, suggesting our team's rather complete lack of traction with anybody. The admin has no fear of the faculty, who either individually or through the Senate are silent, or from students, whose leaders seem to be waiting for the eventual formalization of a 20k tuition headline before they mobilize. Faculty silence is as important as that of students, because Jerry Schwarzenegger and the Derms can read it as meaning the cuts arent doing anything too bad. Faculty shouldn't just protest, but tell their stories like Tom Lutz at RiversIde of concrete damage done by this brainless fueling of decline, Please write and send these. It's only a start, but we haven't really started yet. What concrete reasons do legislators have not do cut without this kind of evidence?

reclaim UC said...

Chris, do you really think students are "waiting" for 20k tuition before doing anything? What do you think has been happening since the fall of 2009? In fact, many students feel there has been extremely limited support of their protest actions from the faculty. We wrote something on this awhile back:

http://reclaimuc.blogspot.com/2010/11/faculty-and-uc-protests.html

This doesn't mean that faculty has done nothing at all or that students have been extremely successful in their actions (they haven't). But if the question is who the administration fears, as you put it, the answer is very clearly not the faculty. But it's also not the student "leaders." What the administration fears are the more decentralized interventions that are far more difficult to co-opt.

reclaim UC said...

more here: http://reclaimuc.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-much-for-solidarity.html

maddy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

State cuts UC and CSU and then asks them for a billion dollar loan: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/07/california-looks-to-uc-csu-for-lend.html

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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