Students react to state budget

Gov. Jerry Brown released California’s first spending plan without a projected budget deficit since 2007.

An estimate from November forecasted a $1.9 billion deficit as opposed to the current projection of a $1 billion reserve, according to the Associated Press.

California state expenditures are now less than the state’s overall revenue, which was aided by the estimated $6 billion tax hike that came with the passage of Proposition 30 in November. To help fund public schools, the proposition called for an increase in income taxes in the next seven years for residents earning $250,000 or more.

Though public education is projected to be revamped under Brown’s spending plan, it will have little to no impact on private universities across the state, including USC.

“We get virtually none of our operating money from the state,” said Lawrence O. Picus, a professor in the Rossier School of Education. “Where budgets from the state might affect us is that some of our faculty have research grants from the state or have contracts that provide minor services for the state. It is a very small amount of money and will probably have no effect one way or another.”

Some students weighed in on California’s new budget and its implications for their daily lives. Daniel Mathews, a junior majoring in economics, disagreed with the proposition and spending plan altogether.

“I do not like the idea of higher taxes,” Mathews said. “Our taxes are too high as it is. While I agree that compromise needed to be made and that the budget needed to be balanced, all they did was raise taxes. The budget gets built around higher taxing, so once the raising of taxes ends in seven years, the budget too will fall apart.”

Samuel Park, a third-year juris doctor candidate at the Gould School of Law, applauded the governor’s plan as being a win-win situation.

“If the tax hikes from high-paying citizens in fact helps the public education system in the state as a whole, it will benefit us all,” Park said.

Beginning on July 1, a $97.7 billion general fund for the fiscal year will be used, and a part of this fund will go toward small increases in educational funding for public academic institutions.

Though the budget will give each California State University $250 million in extra funding, the additional funds are still not what the University of California and the California State University system had anticipated and hoped for in terms of receiving fiscal aid, according to Picus. According to the Orange County Register, the California State University systems needs $250 million to close their funding gap for the upcoming school year.

“The public universities in California have really suffered in the last five years,” Picus said. “There have been real reductions and the $250 million more will help restore some of the cuts they made. [Public institutions] are currently asking for more funding from the government. But, how much do they need, what’s the right number and how do we re-think what goes on? I think those are hard questions that they’re looking at right now and trying to answer.”