$50 million withheld from UC in revised California budget plan

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On Thursday, May 11, Gov. Jerry Brown released a revised budget plan for California. This budget plan will see state expenditure increase by over $3.3 billion with state agencies increasing the amount of jobs available by 983.

The revised plan will also see the California State Government withhold $50 million from the UC system. This is in response to a state audit’s recent discovery that the UC Office of the President (UCOP) failed to disclose $175 million in reserves. Currently, the budget for higher education is set to increase to $15.2 billion with the UC system accounting for 24.2 percent of the budget.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Brown stated that while many see UC President Janet Napolitano as doing a “pretty good job,” he takes issue with the “way too high” UC administrator salaries. Specifically, he expressed his belief that the salaries of the administrators are too high.

UCOP Director of Media Relations Ricardo Vazquez responded to Brown’s withholding of funds by stating, “We don’t believe the $50 million hold will adversely affect us, because we fully intend to meet the requirements for the release of those funds.”

Funding toward California’s natural resources will increase to $5.3 billion, a 12.34 percent increase from the proposed budget in January.

Statewide transportation will also receive an increase in funding to $12.9 million, an 11.24 percent increase from the January budget proposal.

All of the state agencies will see an increase in their annual budget except for Health and Human Services, whose budget will undergo a decrease of $713 million — a 1.19 percent decrease from the proposed total in January.

Currently, the state senate is reviewing Senate Bill 562 which would create a single-payer healthcare system in California, as a response to conservative efforts in the House and Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act. So far, the annual cost of a single-payer system has not been released, with the authors only providing broad answers as to how it would be paid for.

The bill states that the board responsible for the healthcare plan will apply to the United States Health and Human Services for auxiliary funding. In 2007, another single-payer system was proposed and said to cost $209 billion. The bill is set for a hearing by the appropriations committee on Monday, May 22.

The enacted budget, which has passed through the state legislature and been signed by Brown, will be released in the summer.

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