State college systems to cut $500m each

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — University officials warned on Monday that budget cuts proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown may make admissions to UCLA, Cal State Long Beach or any other state university even more competitive than they already are.

Brown’s budget includes $12.5 billion in spending cuts, including $500 million each for the California State University and University of California systems.

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“These cuts will be painful, requiring sacrifice from every sector of the state, but we have no choice,” Brown said in introducing his budget proposal. “For 10 years, we’ve had budget gimmicks and tricks that pushed us deep into debt. We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth.”

Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the Long Beach-based CSU system, said the governor’s proposed budget amounts to an 18 percent reduction in state funding for the university system — taking it back to the levels of 1999-2000, even though the system serves 70,000 more students than it did a decade ago.

“The magnitude of the budget reduction in one year will have serious impacts on the state’s economy, limit access for students seeking entrance into our universities and restrict classes and services for our current students,” Reed said.

Reed noted that the university has already boosted tuition and implemented furloughs and administrative costs, but more will have to be done.

“We will work with the administration and the Legislature to minimize, as much as possible, impact to students,” he said. “However, the reality is that we will not be able to admit as many students as we had been planning for this fall.”

UC President Mark Yudof called the proposed budget “a sad day for California.”

“In the budget proposed by Gov. Brown, the collective tuition payments made by University of California students for the first time in history would exceed what the state contributes to the system’s general fund,” he said.

“The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians.”

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Yudof said he will give chancellors of UCLA and all other UC campuses six weeks to develop plans for meeting budget-reduction targets.

“With the governor’s budget, as proposed, we will be digging deep into bone,” he said. “The physics of the situation cannot be denied — as the core budget shrinks, so must the university.”

As part of his budget proposal — which does not cut funding to kindergarten-through-12th grade education — Brown is proposing a June ballot measure calling for a five-year extension of income and sales tax levels, along with the state vehicle license fee.

Brown said the extensions are needed “so that we can restructure (the budget) in an orderly manner.”

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) called the budget proposal “the starting point of a responsible fiscal plan for California.”

“I look forward to working with the governor to approve a budget that awill begin to eliminate our structural deficit and protect California jobs,” Perez said.

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys) chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said the panel will begin reviewing the budget proposal Thursday.

“Brown’s call for change doesn’t hold anything back,” he said. “His vision acknowledges that we are long past a debate about cuts and taxes. California government must be restructured in order to be more responsive and cost-effective.”

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