A persuasive contingent of Hastings’ faculty and alumni fended off the governor’s initial plan to eliminate almost all of the $10.3 million in state funding for California’s first law school. But in the end, the group could not shield Hastings entirely from the governor’s blue pencil.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday used his line-item veto authority to slice (.pdf) another $1 million in funding for the campus. That’s on top of the $1 million already approved by the Legislature.
“We cannot afford the program we used to be able to afford,” Schwarzenegger told reporters as he signed an amended budget that included an additional $488.8 million in line-item spending vetoes. The governor spared the courts from any extra reductions beyond the original $393 million in cuts that will lead courthouses statewide to close once a month.
Hastings sighs, puts on on brave face, after the jump.
Leo Martinez, Hastings’ acting dean, said the additional $1 million cut wasn’t unexpected given that UC and CSU schools also took roughly a 20 percent funding hit. But Martinez said the law school should be able to absorb the loss through money saved by delaying capital expenditures, freezing salaries and suspending all but the most urgent hiring.
“One advantage of being small is that we can be fairly nimble,” Martinez said. Tuition will not be going up this year, but “my fear is we’ll be facing these same problems again this time next year,” he said.
The bulk of the governor’s $488.8 million in line-item spending vetoes targeted aid programs for the poor and elderly as well as funding for parks, AIDS prevention and farmland preservation.
Democrats and interest groups have suggested that the governor may not have had authority to make all of the cuts because the spending document sent to him last Friday was not a new budget but a revision to the budget enacted in February.
“The governor has the right to blue pencil an appropriation. The funding levels identified in the budget revision in many cases are not new appropriations,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said in a press statement. “This is not the last word.”
— Cheryl Miller
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