California Assembly Higher Education Chairman Das Williams announced support Thursday for most aspects of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal, which invests significantly in education and promises a balanced budget for years to come.
Just two years after the state faced a $26 billion shortfall, California is now poised for balanced budgets, while restoring some of the major cuts over the last decade.
Williams said he is focused on working with the governor, the state Legislature and the people of California to implement the budget requests, while maintaining fiscal responsibility for the taxpayers.
“Today’s budget reflects what all of us know and believe in our hearts; that we as the people of California can make significant change when we put our heads together, make sacrifices and unite for a common goal,” Assemblyman Williams said. “This budget’s commitment to restoring K-12 and higher education funding is the first of many steps we will take together that will help return California to its rightful spot as a leader in innovation, education and entrepreneurship.”
This budget restores some of the drastic cuts all three of the higher education segments suffered in recent budgets. This proposal adds $279.1 million above the current year level for UCs and $316.9 million for CSUs. Included in these totals is $125 million to freeze tuition and fees at both UCs and CSUs. The community college system will see a combined total of $617.8 million from both General Fund and Proposition 98 dollars.
“This budget begins to address the serious problems facing California’s college students and our state as a whole — access to classes and the dismal completion rate,” Williams said.
Williams also thanked voters for approving Prop. 30, which generated billions of dollars in tax revenue to support the California budget and higher education. He said he is hopeful that funds allocated to energy efficiency are also set aside for colleges and universities, to offset their costs.
“Reducing ongoing costs can help us address the crisis of too many students being denied classes while helping the environment,” Williams said.
— Josh Molina is a communications specialist for Assemblyman Das Williams.