Brown denies CSU, UC $50 mill

Matthew Malone

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a proposal on Sept. 27 to give the CSU and UC systems $50 million each in additional funds.

The funding was part of a trigger mechanism in the 2014-15 state budget and would have become available if property tax revenue exceeded budget estimates.

In his veto message, Brown said investing in the state’s aging infrastructure remained a priority for his administration.

“However, we are nearly one quarter into the fiscal year now and we should not commit additional General Fund monies of this magnitude when we are facing unanticipated costs such as fighting the state’s extreme wildfires,” Brown said.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Mike Uhlenkamp, Director of Public Affairs for CSU, said.

The denied funding would have gone to repair aging campus infrastructure.

The governor is committed to universities, H.D. Palmer, the Deputy Director for External Affairs at the California Department of Finance, said. A four-year commitment by Brown to increase CSU funding is entering its second year. Palmer said the governor also had priorities besides university maintenance.

“There are other demands and other pressures on the budget,” Palmer said.

Among those are the unexpected firefighting costs incurred this year, which have outstripped CAL FIRE’s $209 million budget.

“We had to tap into the budget reserve, the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties, to add another $70 million so that CAL FIRE would have the authority to be able to pay bills and ensure that firefighting activities can continue,” Palmer said.

CSU understands that resources remain limited, Uhlenkamp said.

“We’ve received increases in funding and we’re grateful for that,” Uhlenkamp went on to say.