At a time when students of the University of California and California State University are facing steep increases in student tuition – and the State of California is demanding steep tax increases of its citizens to fund education, we were extremely surprised to find extremely large amounts of money washing through the system.
Item: A California government scheme to balance the budget by diverting educational funds into the state’s general fund.
As reported by the Sacramento Bee …
“California looks to UC, CSU for lending hand”
“The state just slashed $650 million each from the California State University and University of California, but it's now looking to the two systems to loan the state some cash.”
“A new bill moving through the Legislature with little public notice, Senate Bill 79, would establish a new investment fund for UC, CSU, California Community Colleges and the Judicial Council. Under the proposal, each system could contribute no less than $500 million and earn a return from the state, apparently more than they get elsewhere but less than the state would have to pay Wall Street.”
“The current plan is for UC to loan the state $1 billion and CSU to loan $700 million, for a total of $1.7 billion in the account, according to Tom Dresslar, spokesman for State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. The money would come from the systems' cash reserves.”
Ultimately it will be the taxpayers who pay these additional interest sums … the government has little or no money of its own.
And it appears that special deals like this simply allow the present administration to paper over their deficits while kicking the can down the road – secure in the fact that they are likely to be out of office when the final bill comes due.
Item: The schools are always engaged in massive building projects and always crying for additional funds …
As reported in the Los Angeles Business Journal …
“…UCLA most recently proposed to replace its 50-year-old Faculty Center with a $160 million hotel and conference center that would be open to tourists and others outside the university. But administrators withdrew the proposal for a six-month review after fierce opposition from faculty who wanted to save the center and questioned the need for such a complex.”
How UCLA describes the project …
“UCLA is planning a 295,000-square-foot residential conference center featuring 33,000 square feet of meeting and conference space, a 9,000-square-foot conference hall, a 250-seat dining room and at least 282 guest rooms. The plan also includes a new 15,000-square-foot faculty club with a separate entrance and meeting space, a 300-seat dining room, a lounge, a café and bar, outdoor seating for 130 and an event lawn.”
Why they believe it is a priority …
“As a public research university, one of UCLA's core missions is to serve as a resource in addressing civic challenges and generating new scientific discoveries. The residential conference center directly supports that mission by providing a venue where UCLA faculty, as well as researchers from around the world, can come together with students and the general public to share knowledge and discuss and debate potential solutions to problems. The project will strengthen UCLA's collaboration with academic institutions around the world and its position as a global leader in research and education, consistent with the goals outlined in the strategic academic plan for the campus. On-campus rooms for overnight stays are necessary to make UCLA a top destination for international conferences and programs. The campus currently does not have a venue with the space, state-of-the-art technological capabilities and contemporary amenities necessary to support such gatherings. There are many other university-affiliated residential conference centers across the country, including at Duke and the universities of Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina. The faculty, students and the region’s broader community deserve a modern facility befitting UCLA's stature — one that enriches the student experience and serves the campus mission and the region’s needs.”
How they plan to finance it …
“No state funding or tuition revenue will be used to build the project, and conference center operations will be completely self-supporting. The $160 million project is made possible by Meyer and Renee Luskin, whose generous gift covers $40 million of the costs. Additional costs will be covered by external financing, and those bonds will be repaid with revenue generated by conference center operations. With interest rates low and construction bids consistently coming in significantly lower than expected, now is the ideal time to proceed. New funding realities demand that campus operations be more entrepreneurial and money-wise. The residential conference center makes possible construction of a new faculty club, and it has the potential to generate new revenue — a bonus on top of its primary goal of advancing the campus academic and civic engagement missions.”
Someone must pay. If not the state, then who? There is no way that the fees to be charged for the use of this ultra-luxurious facility will generate that type of revenue. Or that professors will pay hundreds of dollars per night. So it appears possible that money will be siphoned off from other government grants to use the facilities. Another slight-of-hand game proposed by the politicians and their cronies. In the final analysis, it is always the taxpayer who foots the bill.
Bottom Line …
Tremendous amounts of money are washing through the government and educational institution – without the general public taking notice or, in some instances, even being aware of what is taking place in their name.
Each of the projects involves special interests that have a huge financial stake in these projects … and each project may compete with commercial tax-paying entities without the same advantages conferred by government associations, directed business and financing guarantees.
I use these illustrations to note that our local, state and federal governments are out-of-control, operating far from their core mission of providing for the public’s safety and security – and proposing projects for the common good of their broader constituency.
We need to stop the flow of unlimited taxpayer dollars to the government, to be used in ways they see fit. We need to downsize government and return to a constitutionally-based system.
Think about this when the politicians come begging for money and complain that the educational system will collapse if the taxpayer’s do not feed more money into the system.
Think about the costs overruns and time-delays when using mandated union contractors for these massive projects.
And think about subsidizing the progressive elite educators as they teach your children that capitalism is bad and socialism is the way of the future.
But most of all, think about the use of the taxpayer’s money, your money, in ways that only serve a very limited number of people – the politicians, their friends and special interests.
Reference Links …
Capitol Alert: California looks to UC, CSU for lending hand
UCLA Faculty Center | A PRIVATE CLUB
CSU approves second tuition increase for the fall