Professor Daniel J.B. Mitchell recently published an opinion article in the Daily Bruin regarding Governor Jerry Brown's move to end talks with Republican legislators over a tax increase. This move provokes Mitchell, and others to ask what can the University of California ask from Brown and politicians among budget woes? Read the article here or below.
On the Record
When the state legislature spends time in the midst of a major budget crisis debating about whether to ban shark fin soup, you know we’re in trouble.
The current focus on soup is not because legislators don’t know about the dire budget situation. Rather it means they don’t know what to do about it. And that is bad news for UC and its state funding. But there is something the state can do for UC, despite the fiscal crisis.
First, some background: In January, when Gov. Jerry Brown took office, he faced an immediate problem. State taxes had been raised in February 2009 on a temporary basis, slated to expire at the end of June 2011. Even if voters could be persuaded to extend the taxes, there would be ongoing budget deficits. Without tax extensions, those deficits would be much larger.
The only practical way to put the extension issue to voters by June was through the legislature where a two-thirds vote is required. To obtain all the necessary votes, a few Republicans would have to go along with the vote extension.
Brown presented the legislature with a budget back in January that assumed he could negotiate successfully with the Republicans and get those needed votes. In the end, however, the strategy failed.