UC President pushes for passage of Brown’s tax plan

UC President Mark Yudof
Javier Panzar/Senior Staff
UC President Mark Yudof

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UC President Mark Yudof has turned away from his traditionally “politically agnostic” stance by taking a more active role in protecting the university from future cuts through the political process.

Last year, Yudof issued a statement expressing his support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax extension budget just two days before Brown conceded defeat on his proposal. But this year, the situation is more dire.

After the university sustained $750 million in state funding cuts this fiscal year, Yudof has opted for a more direct but atypical approach to the state’s budget-making process. He announced at the UC Board of Regents meeting in March that he will urge the regents to consider collectively endorsing Brown’s current tax initiative for the November ballot at a future board meeting.

“In my view, it represents the best opportunity I’ve seen in my four years in California for the state to clamber out of a sinkhole of fiscal uncertainty and move forward into a better, more prosperous future,” Yudof said at the meeting.

Brown’s initiative would raise the income tax on wealthy Californians and the state sales tax. If the initiative is not passed, the UC and the CSU each face a $200 million cut, according to Brown’s January budget plan.

“The possibility of additional cuts to UC is untenable,” said UC spokesperson Dianne Klein in an email. “We’re down to bone and gristle.”

Yudof is not the only member of the board reflecting concern about the desperation of the UC’s financial situation. In an op-ed published in The Daily Californian last Friday, Regent Richard Blum also voiced his personal support for Brown’s tax plan.

Still, several board members raised concerns about the tax plan at the board’s March meeting, noting that even with increased taxes the university is not guaranteed additional funding.

Student Regent-designate Jonathan Stein said in an email that such strong political stances are rare for the regents.

“(The UC Office of the President) is unusually engaged,” Stein said in the email. “They’re getting more aggressive in Sacramento than they’ve been previously.”

According to documents obtained by the Daily Cal, Yudof visited the state Capitol to meet with Brown, state Assembly Speaker John Perez, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and others to discuss the need for a long-term budget agreement with state officials.

The rest of the board will work in conjunction with the capitol during its May meeting in Sacramento, when the regents will invite students to lobby government officials with them for increased state funding to the university.

Klein said the regents decide on endorsing ballot measures on a case-by-case basis and typically do so when a measure is related to higher education in general or the university specifically in some significant way. She added that in the past, the regents have mostly endorsed bond measures for funding higher education facilities projects.

UC Student Association President Claudia Magana said that while the concerns of some regents are important, the board must take a stance on the tax plan.

“For the first time in a long time, there could be stabilization at the UC,” she said. “I think there’s a need for some kind of long-term model for getting us back to affordability.”

Californians might agree with Magana. A recent poll conducted by the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times shows that 64 percent of voters in the state back the tax plan.

In light of recent cuts, the CSU system has taken a different approach. Last year, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed urged the system’s Board of Trustees that state funding cuts could double if a budget without tax extensions was passed. This year, the CSU has taken no official stance on the tax plan nor recommended that the board endorse it, instead opting to focus on showing Sacramento and the public the consequences of additional cuts.

“Clearly the board and the leadership of the CSU recognizes the need for revenue,” said CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis. “What the CSU has been able to do is demonstrate the damage that the current cycle of cuts has inflicted on the system.”

The cuts have forced CSU officials to bar enrollment at most of its campuses for spring 2013 and place all fall 2013 applicants on a waitlist, pending the outcome of the state budget. In his editorial, Blum addressed his fear for similar cutbacks in accessibility if the tax plan is not passed.

“My hope is that passage of the governor’s initiative … will allow the political leadership in Sacramento to resume providing the level of funding needed to return fiscal stability to the UC,” he said. “We can only cut so much before we begin to erode the quality of our academic mission.”

Damian Ortellado is the lead higher education reporter.

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  • I’m willing to bet that those of you who are gung-ho for raising taxes have no idea why a bunch of people are going to be going to the post office between 11 and midnight tonight…

  • Stan De San Diego

    “Wow, conservatives finally admitting that they’re really fascists!”

    You mean because we don’t believe the majority has the right to take away the rights of the minority merely because they win an election?

    You are clearly one ignorant and/or grossly miseducated child.

    • The fact that Jim Crow, segregation, and racial discrimination were rationalized along the lines of “majority rule” is lost on these low-IQ boneheads.

  • Adsahjh

    Not a dollar more until we stop giving in-state tuition to illegals, having a huge staff of overpaid diversity-crats, et cetera. Cut the waste, then let’s talk.

    • rockinlinus

       wait . . .  so you’d rather have uneducated illegals living here? 

      • I’d rather not have illegals here at ALL, and providing economic incentives for them to break the law in the first place isn’t going to help the situation. And before you start blathering your stupid talking points such as “no person is illegal”, “they are doing the jobs that Americans won’t do”, or whatever nonsense has been programmed in that skull full of mush of yours, the fact of the matter is that not only is the state of California broke, but the highest unemployment in the COUNTRY right now can be found in agricultural towns such as  Fresno, Merced, Bakersfield, El Centro where the unemployment rate is anywhere from 18 % to 25% – places with (not coincidentally) high populations of illegal aliens. Your faux sympathy for all these illegals is not matched by any concern for unskilled low-income US citizens (many of the LEGAL immigrants) who have to compete with these same illegals for employment, housing, and various social services.

        Fact of the matter is that this massive propagandization for illegals, as well as all the attempts to cater to them, have NOTHING do with any concern for human rights, getting lettuce picked, et. al. In reality, it’s all about the Democrat Party building up its voter base with what they consider to be the ideal voter: ignorant, uneducated, no sense of real allegiance to our country, and most important of all, acculturated and conditioned to accept corruption and political patronage as the norm. Many of us figured that out a long time ago, even if you don’t have a freaking clue as to what’s going on around you…

        • rockinlinus

           Yes, and I’d rather have civil on-line discussions, but alas, I live in the real world.

  • CALifer

    As someone who will be affected by this ‘millionaire tax’ (even though it is anyone making >$250k), why should I support it if there are no guarantees it will go to the UC/CSU system? It’s a crying shame that one of the best public university systems on planet earth is being ruined, and I’d be much more willing to pay higher taxes if I knew it was going to be used towards stopping the decline. 

    Jerry Brown himself wanted to put such wording in the proposal but had to back off because legislators weren’t going to support it. Guess they want the money for more pork barrel projects.

    And yes, I am considering moving to Texas or Florida where there is no state income tax at all. Plus there’s the added bonus of not being subjected to Federal AMT because I had such a generous ‘deduction’ from all the California state taxes I paid!

    • The company I work for (high-tech “green” startup) is seriously reconsidering a relo to the Las Vegas area. I’m nowhere close to being a millionaire, but already figured out that between a lower cost of living and being able to escape CA’s punitive state taxes, it will be like having another $14-15K/year in my bank account. Sure, it’s a bit warm in the summer, but I can live with that. LV has decent enough shopping and dining, and being a bit of a history buff and desert rat whose idea of fun is to throw my camping gear in the back of my Ford pickup and explore old ghost towns and mining camps on an occasional weekend, it won’t hurt my feelings a bit if I have to relocate there. The hot weather is a small price to pay for not living in a state were welfare recipients, criminals and illegal aliens are more valued than working citizens and the investors that make those jobs possible…

    • The current language of the proposal doesnt give anything to UC or Cal state

      89% goes to k-12 education while the remaining 11% goes to the California Community College system. Not to anything else, it is very smart politically. 

      I guess UC and Cal state would see increased revenues from the State general fund  

  • SupportBRNStax

    As California parents and grandparents we want the very best education for our children and grandchildren.  We also  support Brown’s School Tax Initiative.  
    An uneducated society causes unemployment, poverty and crime, something  we wouldn’t wish on  our worst enemy. 

    • Stan De San Diego

       Ask how much education you’re going to be able to afford when the people paying the bulk of taxes in this state tell the parasites to screw themselves, move out of state, and no longer pay state taxes. CA isn’t broke because of a lack of tax revenue. It’s broke because the politicians keep spending money on budget-busting non-essential, non-constitutionally-mandated programs that merely exist to transfer wealth from the productive to the non-productive. But keep it up, and watch the ones paying the bills make their exodus to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, wherever. You will find out soon enough who really keeps this state running, and who’s merely along for the free ride.

    • rockinlinus

       Unfortunately for all of our students, the governor’s plan will not bring an extra cent to their education.  The money raised by the governor’s tax plan will go to pay off money owed schools for years of diverting and deferring money that should have gone to schools in the first place.  When he says it’s for the schools, he is being misleading.  The schools will not be made whole by his meager gesture.  He just sliced away another $2.4 billion last year when he removed $5 billion from the general fund to pay for his “realignment plan” to the counties.  A judge just ruled that shifting that money out of the general fund was legal.  Every time he does that he lowers money for education.  Now he actually has permission to do it.

      Do our students a favor and vote for the PTA backed Molly Munger initiative, “Our Children, Our Future”  .  This money does not pass through the sticky fingers in Sacramento and is over and above the legal minimum the state is mandated to fund schools.

  • I_h8_disqus

    Yudof just sounds like a completely beaten man.  He can’t get commitments from politicians that the tax initiative will bring money to the UC, but he is supporting the tax initiative out of desperation.  Yudof will spend a lot of time on his knees trying to keep politicians from cutting the UC further even after the tax initiative, because the state legislature doesn’t like public education.  Even when the revenues were strong before the recession, the legislature was cutting funding to the UC.  Why should they change their minds now.  Also is it surprising that voters are supporting the tax initiative, when they don’t see the tax increase hitting them?  To put it simply, we are as good at wisely spending tax revenue as most NFL and NBA players are at spending their salaries.

    • Stan De San Diego

       The big difference is that neglecting the issue of subsidized stadiums, the ball players blew their own money, not everyone else’s.

  • [Brown’s initiative would raise the income tax on wealthy Californians and the state sales tax.]

    Raising taxes isn’t the same as raising revenue, especially when people who are taxed enough already tell California to take a hike and move their primary residence out of state so they won’t be subject to state income taxes…

    • Guest

      So let’s raise the taxes in ALL the states. It’s not very dignified chasing the rich people all around the country begging them for their blessed jobs and tempting them with juicy low taxes and max profits.

      • Stan De San Diego

         “So let’s raise the taxes in ALL the states.”

        Not everyone is as stupid as those who ran the state government into the fiscal sewer. Why should we compel everyone else to do stupid things just to keep up with California?

        • Guest

           Because if they “keep up” then it is no longer stupid. By pandering to the corporations and big money, democracy is lost because they have more political power than you. 1 person, 1 vote? Get real.

          • Adsahjh

            If by democracy you mean the right to appropriate your neighbor’s property via the ballot box, fuck democracy.

          • Stan De San Diego

            If  “democracy” means voting to confiscate the wealth of those who have more than you do, then I don’t want any part of it. I like the idea of a constitutional republic where individuals have rights.

          • 2012

             Wow, conservatives finally admitting that they’re really fascists! (look up the term before you start screaming).

          • [Because if they “keep up” then it is no longer stupid].

            So what you’re saying is that if one state acts irresponsibly, all the other should be compelled to do the same, just to make it “fair”?

      •  The reason that some states don’t raise taxes is because they have a fundamentally different idea of the role and scope of state government, believing that the government serves the working people, not the other way around. Not everyone has this idea that private wealth should be confiscated to feed an ever-expanding welfare state that can’t manage what it already has. They see the value of those same wealthy people you despise, investing money in private sector enterprises that create jobs, opportunity and real wealth, as opposed to building trains to nowhere and giving it away to people who aren’t even the country legally…