We Afford Excellence?
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who participated were Assemblyman Ronald S. Calderon ’80 (D-Montebello);
Assemblyman Ed Chavez ’89 (D-La Puente); Assemblywoman Judy
Chu ’74 (D-Monterey Park); Assemblyman Lou Correa J.D. ’85,
M.B.A. ’85 (D-Santa Ana); Sen. Sheila Kuehl ’62 (D-Los
Angeles); and Assemblyman Keith Richman M.D. ’78, M.P.H. ’83
(R-Granada Hills). Fernando Torres-Gil, associate dean of the School
of Public Policy and Social Research, moderated the discussion.
Given the budget crisis, can California afford
a world-class research university?
If the question being asked is whether we can afford to
maintain this premier institution, my response is that I don’t
know how we could afford not to maintain it. Think about the new
technologies that are generated, about the new medical breakthroughs.
UCLA has led the way in these areas. How could we afford not to
have an institution such as this that helps to improve the quality
of life for our communities?
As policymakers, we try to develop a blueprint for the future of
California within the context of jobs, international competition,
economic growth, cutting-edge technology. Those are the kinds of
investments we need to continue to focus on — the things that
will lead to breakthroughs in technology that change the way we
live on this planet. Of course, the challenge we have today as policymakers
is that we have some tough sacrifices to make. Right now it’s
a matter of prioritizing.
Should UC seek a funding guarantee
such as Proposition 98, which sets a guaranteed minimum funding
out of state revenues for K-12 and community colleges?
Every special-interest group would like to have special
funding set aside in order to add predictability and to be able
to budget, but what we’ve seen in these set-aside situations
is that the state loses flexibility. It’s necessary in times
of budget shortfalls such as we’re experiencing now to have
flexibility. Prop. 98 hasn’t really turned out to be the Eden
that some thought it would be because while it does make guarantees,
they are linked to state revenues. It would be nice to have predictability,
but in situations such as the one we’re faced with now we