Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reminder: Governor's budget proposal is not THE budget; UC Regents tuition/funding proposal is also not final

There is a tendency, when the governor announces a budget proposal in January, to forget that there is no budget until the legislature enacts one. And there won't be one until this coming June. So, in particular, what the governor had to say about UC and its tuition/funding proposal is not the last word. Between now and actual budget time, there will be legislative hearings and proposals, negotiations with the governor, a "May revise" in which the governor will modify his proposal, more information about state revenues, possible changes in the economic outlook for the next fiscal year, etc.

Already, legislative leaders have been pointing to their own goals, which may not be identical to those of the governor.  And don't forget the existence of "direct democracy" in California, i.e., the possibility that initiatives could override what the governor or the legislature might want. We have already seen an initiative petition filed - with credible interest group backing - for K-14 school construction bonds, even though the governor is not keen on having the state pay for local school construction.*

It is also the case that what the regents proposed regarding their tuition/funding plan in November is not their final position, either.  There will be regents meetings between now and June.

We have been pointing to these facts and that it is likely that over the next few months, there will be some kind of negotiation process between UC, the governor, and legislative leaders. What people say in public - for example, at the upcoming mid-January Regents meeting - may not be what they are saying in private.  Positions taken in public may not be bottom line positions.  It might be a good thing, therefore, if those of us on the sidelines weighed what we say - since we are commenting only on what is public.  We have previously posted about the less-than-thoughtful remarks of former Berkeley chancellor Birgeneau made in an op ed.**  Student groups, which are taking "no confidence votes" in the UC president and regents, might also want to weigh consequences of such actions.*** Folks who are not necessarily friends of UC take notice of such things.**** Unless you are a fly on the wall in the negotiations room, it's hard to know how much confidence to have in anyone. It's frustrating, as yours truly knows, but - then again - reality often is.
*See For the actual proposed initiative, see

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