Gov. Wilson Proposes Giving $108 Million in Surplus State Funds to UC System
BUDGET: University of California will receive an additional $108 million

UCSD Guardian News
May 21, 1998

Gov. Pete Wilson announced last week his plans to allocate an additional $108 million in state general funds to the University of California for fiscal 1998-99.

The money would be in addition to the extra $175 million Wilson promised the university when he unveiled his budget plans in January.

According to a statement by UC President Richard Atkinson, the extra funds will go toward funding five different areas.

First, $23 million will be spent to accommodate the 3,200 additional students who are expected to attend UC campuses in the fall. These students were not originally anticipated in Wilson's initial budget proposal.

Deferred maintenance needs, including the repair and replacement of roofs, elevators and heating and ventilation systems, will cost an additional $23 million in one-time funding.

Another $23 million will be set aside for the one-time funding of instructional equipment, such as laboratory equipment, furniture and computers.

Wilson has also allocated another $10 million for the purchase of library materials and supplies.

Finally, Wilson set $25 million aside for the purchase of instructional technology, such as computers for classrooms and libraries and video-conferencing equipment for classrooms.

"I know I speak for the entire university community and the Board of Regents in expressing our appreciation and the gratitude to the governor," Atkinson said.

Wilson's revised $75.8 billion budget includes a $4.4 billion surplus and a $1.6 billion reserve. Wilson would increase spending in K-12 and higher education, as well as local flood-control projects, the purchase of headwaters forest lands, and local infrastructure improvements.

Wilson also expects to use $1 billion to start reducing the "car tax." The annual tax cut would grow to $3.6 billion by 2002.

Wilson attributed the surplus to the state's powerful economy, which has produced greater revenues than were projected while the original budget was being developed.

"We've witnessed dramatic changes these past seven years," Wilson said. "We've seen recession swept away by recovery. Seven years ago, the challenge was to make do with less."

In related news, eight Democratic state legislators announced yesterday their plan to use the $4.4-billion surplus to eliminate student fees at UC and CSU campuses.

The proposal, penned by Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, would spend $1.3 billion to abolish student fees in 1998-99 and would set aside the rest of the surplus to offset fees in future years.

Legislators supporting the proposal said that UC tuition increases since 1990 have placed California's public higher-education system out of reach for many Californians.

Ron Low, a spokesman for Wilson, said that the governor would not support using the entire surplus to eliminate student fees. He said the governor is afraid that other programs that could be funded out of the surplus would have to be sacrificed to support the proposal.