Monday, January 10, 2011

Brown's Budget--A Preliminary Look

Jerry Brown released his proposed 2011-2012 Budget this morning.  The full document (all 266 pages) can be found here.  I hope to have some analysis on the overall budget sometime soon but for now I simply wanted to direct your attention to the Higher Education section of the budget which can be found here.  Much of this section appears, to me at least, to be vague but several points do stand out:

1) Brown is not proposing to cut Higher Ed in the 2010-2011 budget year.  In fact, his proposed funding for this budget year is actually increased over the 2010-2011 budget. (148)

2) But there will be significant cuts in 2011-2012 for all sectors of Higher Education compared to Brown's revised 2010-11 Budget.  As you can see in Higher Ed figure 1 UC will face13.3% General Funding Cut amounting to 388.5M; CSU gets a general funding cut of 12.5% with a dollar amount of 326.1M and the CC system will receive a General Fund and Prop 98 Cut 6/9% with a dollar amount of 432.5M. (148)

3) In his accounting Brown is making a strong and significant division between General Fund and Total Funds as regards higher education.  This distinction is quite normal but in this instance the budget summary draws a great deal of attention to the fact that the budgeting (and the cuts in General Funds) is predicated on the recent Tuition and Fee increases at UC and CSU as well as a proposed fee increase at the Community College level.

4) The Budget also insists that how the approximately 500M in cuts to UC and CSU each will be made will be done in conjunction with stakeholders in each system.  (150, 151)  (I am assuming although I may be wrong that the 500M number is primarily the cut in General Fund and the loss of ARRA or equivalent funding).

5) What strikes me as of interest in the way that that discussion is set up is that Brown insists that the cuts must be targeted in ways that do not lead to more tuition increases or enrollment cuts.  This position is in sharp contrast to the comments on a proposed fee increase for the Community College System where the budget defends the relative lack of expense of the system even with increased fees.

6) Put another way, the Budget suggests to the Regents and to the CSU Board that tuition increases will be counted against general fund support--not as something that can be added onto it.  The systems will now be losing funding relative to the amount they shift onto students.  It suggests that Brown is no longer willing to have tuition go up inexorably unless UC and CSU are prepared to lose out on all General Fund support.  

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