Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday began laying out the possible consequences of balancing California's remaining $15.4 billion budget deficit solely through spending cuts, including a doubling of University of California tuition, as he continues to push for a compromise with Republicans on his proposal for a special election on taxes.
In an address Wednesday to the California Hospital Association, Brown said UC undergraduate fees could hit $20,000 to $25,000 a year if the Legislature approves and he signs an all-cuts budget.
Current fees are nearly $12,000 for in-state students, plus thousands more for books and other fees, and are scheduled to rise by more than $900 a year next fall.
Brown said California's universities and colleges are its "engine of creativity and wealth and well-being.''
"It's going to make it harder for people to go to school. You have higher loans, and the quality of life of California is being undermined,'' Brown told reporters afterward.
The presidents of the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems met with Brown on Tuesday after leading a rally at the state Capitol to preserve
Brown already signed into law budget bills that reduce California's $26.6 deficit by $11.2 billion. That includes a $1 billion cut to higher education programs that the leaders say will lead to larger class sizes and lower enrollment.
Despite ending talks with Republican lawmakers last week, the Democratic governor said he still hopes to strike a deal for a special election to ask voters to extend temporary increases to the
sales, personal income and vehicle taxes. The tax increases will expire by June 30, but Brown wants them renewed for five years.
He had hoped to ask voters to extend the taxes in a June special election, but he couldn't get the two Republican votes in each house of the state Legislature he needs to approve the plan.
Republicans are seeking rollbacks of public employee pensions, reduced regulations and a spending cap. They also oppose Brown's plans to eliminate redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones that benefit developers.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has said closing a deficit roughly similar to the remaining $15.4 billion shortfall would require nearly $5 billion in cuts to K-12 schools, another
$585 million in cuts to community colleges, $1.1 billion from universities, including a 10 percent student fee increase at California State University campuses, and $1.2 billion in cuts to health and social services.