The Cost of California

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On Friday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presented his state with the proposed budget for 2010-11. To the surprise and relief of many Californians, Schwarzenegger proposed no new higher education cuts. The state’s higher education systems have been hemorrhaging money in the last year and the governor’s budget came as a relief. According to Patrick Lenz in the University of California’s central office:

We are extremely grateful that the governor has made higher education a top priority in his proposed budget. The restoration in funding for the University of California will help us maintain access and protect financial aid for thousands of young Californians who look to our campuses as portals of opportunity. We especially applaud the governor’s decision to fully fund Cal Grants, which are critical to the future of so many low- and middle- income students across the state.

But this ($305 million) restoration in funding doesn’t come free. The governor’s budget cuts funding in a lot of places. As an article by Shane Goldmacher in the Los Angeles Times puts it, “Schwarzenegger’s budget a blow to the poor”:

Proposing a budget that would eliminate the state’s welfare-to-work program and most child care for the poor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday outlined a stark vision of a California that would sharply limit aid to some of its poorest and neediest citizens.

His $83.4-billion plan would also freeze funding for local schools, further cut state workers’ pay and take away 60% of state money for local mental health programs.

These are the areas in which the state’s Democrats might rally. But these people are also strong supporters of maintaining a strong, reasonably inexpensive state university system. This is trouble for the budget, if the supporters of one part of it are united in their opposition to another part. The budget may not pass in the legislature. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer