Jerry Brown warns of soaring UC costs in all-cuts budget
The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. and#8212; Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday began laying out the possible consequences of balancing California’s remaining $15.4 billion budget deficit solely through spending cuts and#8212; including a doubling of University of California tuition and#8212; as he continues to push for a compromise with Republicans on his proposal for a special election on taxes.
In an address Wednesday to the California Hospital Association, Brown said UC undergraduate fees could hit $20,000 to $25,000 a year if the Legislature approves and he signs an all-cuts budget.
Current fees are nearly $12,000 for in-state students, plus thousands more for books and other fees, and are scheduled to rise by more than $900 a year next fall.
Brown said California’s universities and colleges are its and#8220;engine of creativity and wealth and well-being.and#8221;
and#8220;It’s going to make it harder for people to go to school. You have higher loans, and the quality of life of California is being undermined,and#8221; Brown told reporters afterward.
The presidents of the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems met with Brown on Tuesday after leading a rally at the state Capitol to preserve funding.
Brown already signed into law budget bills that reduce California’s $26.6 deficit by $11.2 billion. That includes a $1 billion cut to higher education programs that the leaders say will lead to larger class sizes and lower enrollment.
Despite ending talks with Republican lawmakers last week, the Democratic governor said he still hopes to strike a deal for a special election to ask voters to extend temporary increases to the sales, personal income and vehicle taxes. The remaining tax increases will expire by June 30, but Brown wants them renewed for five years.
He had hoped to ask voters to extend the taxes in a June special election, but he couldn’t get the two Republican votes in each house of the state Legislature he needs to approve the plan.
In an address later Wednesday, Brown asked the state’s top law enforcement officials to encourage Republicans to support his budget proposal, repeating that he only needs four votes in all.
and#8220;We’ve got to get them. If we don’t get them, we are going to crash,and#8221; he said of the GOP votes. and#8220;Because I’m not going to sit here and paper it over, and kick the can down the road. … We’re at a crossroads, and I believe just as they’re threatening to close the government down in Washington, and they’re fighting, the two parties, I think California ought to set the example that the two parties can come together and we can find some common ground.and#8221;
Republicans are seeking rollbacks of public employee pensions, reduced regulations and a spending cap. They also oppose Brown’s plans to eliminate redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones that benefit developers.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has said closing a deficit smaller than the remaining $15.4 billion shortfall would require nearly $5 billion in cuts to K-12 schools, another $585 million in cuts to community colleges, $1.1 billion from universities, including a 10 percent student fee increase at California State University campuses, and $1.2 billion in cuts to health and social services.
Brown has said he will continue to push for his plan in appearances around the state. Senate Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said Wednesday that she doesn’t believe voters have any appetite for a vote on taxes.
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