Saturday, January 9, 2016

Opaque budgets

Yesterday, we provided an overview of the state budget as a whole. But what about the UC budget? Sadly, exactly what UC is getting is not all that clear from the budget.

Let's start with the current 2015-16 budget as it appears on the Dept. of Finance website. According to that budget, UC received $3,207,138,000 from the general fund and $29,044,000 from special funds for a total of $3,236,182,000.* In $millions, as it appears in the latest document, that would be $3,236.2.

The governor's budget proposal for 2016-17 has comparison data for 2015-16.** It says that in the current 2015-16 year in $millions, UC receives $3,257.1. That seems to be $20.9 more than in the 2015-16 budget above. (Extra money for more students? The extra money was supposed to be $25.0. ???) Moreover, the new proposal says that of that $3,257.1, a total of $122.0 was from the rainy-day fund. So apart from the rainy-day fund money, there was only $3,135.1 from the general fund.

The Committee of Two deal provides UC with an additional basic general fund allocation of $125.4. So that brings the basic general fund allocation for the coming year up to $3,260.5. And then in the coming year, as part of the deal, we get an additional $171.0 from the rainy-day fund bringing the total to $3,431.5. So far, so good.

But wait! We are supposed to get $436 (we're still in $millions) for the pension fund over three years. That would be $436/3 = $145.3 per year. That amount is more that the $122.0 said to come from the rainy-day fund during the current year. But it's less than the $171.0 for next year. Does that mean that in 2017-18, we get the remaining $143.0? ($436 - $122 - $171) Or are each year's contributions subject to negotiations?

So exactly what is UC getting from the state for what this year? Never mind media releases. It would be nice to have a simple statement in the budget. As for next year, the new budget proposal says that $35 (million) from the general fund is for deferred maintenance. (And there is another $25 (million) said to come from the cap-and-trade program for unnamed environmental projects.) Again, it would be nice to have a simple tabulation in the budget unraveling exactly what is coming from where and going to what.
** (The higher ed section begins on page 33.)

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