California Reduce Prison Funding, Increase University Funding Amendment (2010)

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A California Reduce Prison Funding, Increase University Funding Amendment will not be on the November 2, 2010 ballot in California. It was proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a possible legislatively-referred constitutional amendment for the 2010 ballot in California.[1]

The proposal would:

  • Guarantee about 10% of the California budget for the University of California and California State University systems
  • Gradually scaling back prison funding.

LAO analysis

The California Legislative Analyst's Office wrote a hard-hitting negative review of the proposal. The January 26 review is four pages and is entitled, "Prisons vs. Universities Proposal Would Unwisely Lock Up Budget Flexibility".[2] The report concludes, "It is an unnecessary, ill-conceived measure that would do serious harm to the budget process."[3]


The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times has weighed in against this proposal. In a January 7, 2010 editorial, they wrote:

"The governor now wants a constitutional amendment -- yet another one -- that commits the state to spending at least 10% of the general fund budget each year on higher education and no more than 7% on prisons. That's a reversal of today's allocation, and the re-prioritizing sounds good -- but the amendment does not. It's uncomfortably similar to Proposition 42, a 2002 measure that partially defunded higher education, prisons and everything else by restricting the sales tax on gasoline to transportation use only. Like the governor's new proposal, there was an escape clause -- with a declaration of emergency, Sacramento could move the money back to its original use. But automobile clubs and transit agencies had gotten used to the guaranteed funding stream, and as soon as there was a real necessity and Proposition 42 was suspended, transportation advocates went back to the ballot to eliminate the escape clause. They succeeded in 2006 -- and now government has less money for higher education, prisons and everything else."[4]


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