(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, released the following statement in response to the report on state audit interference and the University of California (UC) Regents' actions Thursday:
"The report describes disgraceful actions by UC officials to thwart the state auditor's work, which was being done at our request. UC's actions prevented a critical review of whether state funds are being misspent on bureaucracy instead of students. That is unacceptable. The Regents did not go far enough yesterday in punishing those involved.
"We do not oversee UC personnel – that is the Regents' job. We do, however, oversee UC's use of state funds. That is why we took action in the 2017 budget to separate out the Office of the President's budget, which allows us to more thoroughly examine the office's expenses during the next budget cycle. We will provide the significant oversight that the Regents haven’t provided in our effort to ensure state funding supports students and campuses and not overly paid executives who act like they're above state scrutiny.
"We must redouble our efforts in the coming legislative year to find cost savings at UC and redirect dollars to help student enrollment. Money saved at the UC Office of the President lessens the need for enrollment rationing and tuition hikes."
The 2017 Budget Act provides direct state funding to the UC Office of the President (UCOP), while forbidding the office from assessing campuses to pay for its costs. The office will be asked during spring budget hearings to justify its expenses as the Legislature plays a much more direct role in the amount of funding the office receives. UCOP reported to the Regents this week that it ended 2016-17 with a $52.7 million surplus.
Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District, which include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.