In summary

The UC and and CSU systems will take a $602 million hit under California budget cuts, potentially leading to a tuition hike for some families.

Good morning, California. It’s Wednesday, June 24.

Could lead to UC, CSU tuition hike

Students walk through Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley on March 12. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Middle-class families will likely bear the brunt of budget cuts under an agreement reached by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to patch the state’s $54 billion deficit, while the neediest Californians are largely spared.

Unless the federal government supplies billions of dollars in aid by Oct. 1, state employee salaries will be slashed by 10% and the University of California and California State University systems will take a combined $602 million hit — likely leading to an eventual tuition hike on families who don’t qualify for financial aid, CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall reports.

  • Audrey Dow of the Campaign for College Opportunity: “The UC and CSU are going to be forced to balance their budget on the backs of talented qualified students … at a time when families can least afford it.”

However, California’s K-12 schools and community colleges will not suffer most of the cuts Newsom proposed last month. And Calbright, the state’s online-only community college, will live to see another day despite demands from lawmakers to cut its funding entirely.

Other important takeaways:

  • Key health and social service programs were preserved, including dental benefits for Medi-Cal patients and adult day programs that help keep low-income seniors out of nursing homes.
  • Homeless programs were largely spared from cuts.
  • Gone: A proposal to expand Medi-Cal health coverage to undocumented seniors, though the state plans to do so in the future.
  • Included: A $65 million tax break for low-income undocumented workers with a child under age 6.

“This is a multiyear framework,” Newsom said Monday. “We have a lot of work to do over the next few years.”


The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Tuesday night, California had 183,073 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,580 deaths from the virus, according to a CalMatters tracker.

Also: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline tracking the state’s daily actions. And we’re tracking the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

Other stories you should know

1. California reconsidering its landmark climate strategy

The Chevron Oil Refinery in Point Richmond on July 19, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters

California is reevaluating its landmark climate program as the pandemic upends its carbon market, signaling potential shifts to the state’s climate change strategy, CalMatters’ Rachel Becker reports. The state had been counting on one program to deliver nearly half the greenhouse gas reductions it sought to reach by 2030 — but now it’s reviewing the program’s likelihood of meeting those goals and considering different approaches.

  • State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Fremont Democrat: “It’s the first formal acknowledgment from the administration that they’re willing to look at a different mix … They’re not conceding that it’s not working, but they’re willing to look at it. Therein lies victory, I guess.”

2. Vallejo cut its police force in half — but killings by officers went up

Protesters hold up a signs during a demonstration May 29, 2020 Downtown Oakland. Thousands took to the streets Friday night in solidarity with protesters in Minneapolis against the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police earlier this week. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Protesters during a May 29 demonstration in downtown Oakland. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Widespread calls to defund city police departments are being met with skepticism from some residents of Vallejo, which saw a sizable jump in the number of fatal shootings by officers after its police department was cut nearly in half a decade ago, the Washington Post reports. A recent independent review of the department found long shifts and mandatory overtime led to police “burnout, discouragement, and a pervasive sense of being underappreciated by city officials as well as outsiders,” as well as an “‘us against the world’ mindset.” To reduce strains with the community and adequately handle the workload, Vallejo’s mayor wants to double the number of police officers.

  • Danté R. Quick, pastor at Vallejo’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church: “Our police department is woefully ‘defunded’ — which has led to overworked, underpaid and therefore underqualified police officers. Do I really want a man or woman who’s worked 16 hours straight, with a gun in their hand, with state-sanctioned ability to take my life … do I want that person authorized to police me? The answer to that is no.”

3. By the way, California’s in the middle of a megadrought

We may be in the middle of a weeklong heat wave of three-digit temperatures hitting Northern California, but the Golden State and much of the western U.S. is also in the midst of a “megadrought” that began in 2000, according to a recent paper published in Science. About half of the megadrought is attributable to natural climate variability and half to climate change, according to the paper.

Some other key findings:

  • Since 1999, the state has experienced dry years three times more often than wet years — roughly double the frequency of dry years compared to records going back to the late 1800s.
  • The period from 2000-2018 was the driest 19-year span since the late 1500s and the second-driest since 800 CE.
  • A more extreme trend toward megadrought” is on the way due to global warming.

CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: The budget Newsom and lawmakers have agreed on is dead certain not to be the last because it’s far from balanced. And big tax increases could be on the agenda.

Building wall a waste of resources: Money being used to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border could be better spent in a multitude of ways, argue Lupe Renteria Salome and Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the California Endowment.

Innovation key to recovery: Innovation isn’t just about tech titans: It exists in communities working creatively to address problems from homelessness to climate change, writes Kathleen Kelly Janus, Newsom’s senior advisor on social innovation.

No brainer to keep youth fire camps: I want to see my tax dollars help turn young people’s lives around while also performing a great community service, writes Cheryl Wilson, an Angels Camp resident.

Other things worth your time

California found homes for 10,000 homeless residents. Now what? // KQED

Silicon Valley blasts Trump’s order to suspend H1-B visas. // Mercury News

Fort Bragg will not put a name change on its November ballot. // Los Angeles Times

Will California rename state park called Negro Bar? // Sacramento Bee

Cut $25 million from Oakland police? Not so fast, mayor says. // San Francisco Chronicle

Los Angeles city councilman arrested after federal corruption probe. // Los Angeles Times


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Emily Hoeven wrote the daily WhatMatters newsletter for three years at CalMatters . Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco...