Passage of Proposition 30 Puts Education on Path to Fiscal Stability

University of California to Avoid $250 Million in Budget Cuts This Year

The University of California will avoid $250 million in spending cuts this year, after voters Tuesday approved Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's signature tax measure.

Prop. 30, which will provide billions in new education funding, guarantee local public safety and help balance the state budget, passed with a 54 percent majority.

Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown

A rival measure to raise state taxes, Proposition 38, advocated by millionaire Molly Munger was soundly defeated.

Under Prop. 30, the state will increase personal income taxes on those who earn $250,000 a year for seven years and sales taxes by ¼ cent for everyone for four years. The new tax revenues would be available to fund K-12 schools, colleges and universities, which have endured years of stage budget cuts. The fiscal impact of increased state tax revenues through 2018–2019, averages about $6 billion annually over the next few years for funding the state budget. In 2012–2013, planned spending reductions, primarily to education programs, will not occur.

The UC Board of Regents endorsed Prop. 30, noting that if the initiative failed, UC was scheduled to receive a budget reduction of $250 million this year and lose an additional $125 million next year. Sherry Lansing, chair of the Board of Regents, issued a statement about the approval of Proposition 30 by California voters on Wednesday.

“I am thrilled that California voters have passed Proposition 30," she said. "This victory will certainly help us in our battle to restore fiscal stability to the University of California. I am deeply grateful to all who advocated for Proposition 30, especially the students who worked so incredibly hard to get out the vote, and the many faculty members and alumni who argued so eloquently for its passage. We will remain steadfast in our determination to preserve the quality, access and public service that have made the University of California an indispensable resource for the entire state.”

Already, state funding for UC has dropped by nearly $900 million — or about 27 percent — over the last four years, resulting in sharp tuition increases, staff layoffs, faculty hiring freezes, academic program cuts and other reductions. The University in 2009 enacted a temporary furlough program for employees and has embarked on a program to save $500 million through administrative efficiencies.

The Regents noted that further budget reductions could jeopardize UC's ability to provide the high-quality education that Californians have come to expect from the University and force the University to raise student tuition.

UC President Mark Yudof, who talked about the importance of the measure with faculty and staff during a recent web chat, also issued a statement about its passage on Wednesday morning. He also wrote a letter to the UC community thanking those who supported Proposition 30 [PDF].

“The passage of Proposition 30 represents an opportunity for California and its political leadership to put public higher education back on a pathway toward fiscal stability,” he said. “This is an opportunity of great importance, not only to the University of California and other higher education segments, but also to the state as a whole, and we cannot afford to let it slip away.”