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Budget Update, 1-11-10

To the Campus Community:

I know we are all concerned about next year’s state budget and how it will affect UCLA.  As you may have heard, Governor Schwarzenegger released his 2010-11 budget on Friday.  The budget restores the $305 million one-time cut made last year to the University of California and protects funding for the Cal Grant program.  If approved by the Legislature, these funds will help mitigate some of the most severe impacts of the budget reductions experienced this year.

I am especially pleased that, in his final State of the State address, the governor said he would propose an amendment to the California Constitution that would shift state funding priorities and guarantee that in future years the UC and California State University systems receive no less than 10 percent of state general fund revenue.  Currently, the two systems receive 7.5 percent.

I’m sure this proposal will generate much discussion and debate, and other ideas may emerge.  But this is the first time in many years that the state’s leadership has made a bold statement about the state’s priorities and has championed higher education.  I embrace the opportunity to focus on the indispensable role a world-class public research university plays in the economic, scientific, social and cultural well-being of California.
 
While the governor’s plan is positive for the UC and higher education generally, it still falls short of the $902 million need identified in the Regents’ budget.  The state economy remains weak.  The governor’s proposal depends on a major infusion of new federal funds and severe cuts to health and social services programs.  Because of these significant risks, we must remain disciplined and zealous in our budget planning and in our efforts to restructure UCLA’s academic and administrative operations.

It is important to note that the release of the governor’s plan is only the first step in a long and complicated process of negotiation with the Legislature before a final budget is passed.  At every step, we will be fully engaged¸ advocating for the UC and its future.  Please remember that it is more critical than ever that all of our voices are heard.  You can join the advocacy effort by signing up at http://www.advocacy.ucla.edu/getinvolved.html.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh, Vice Chancellor Steve Olsen and I will begin conferring with campus leadership to consider implications of the governor’s proposal and others that may emerge.  I assure you that we will keep you apprised.  Another important milestone will be the budget revision released in May.  Budget information is always available at http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/campus-budget.aspx.

Sincerely,

Gene D. Block
Chancellor
 

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