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Legislative analyst rips Schwarzenegger proposal linking state funds for prisons, universities

January 26, 2010 |  1:57 pm

Steve Boilard The state’s independent fiscal analyst criticized a proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to link funding for California’s universities to state funding of prisons.

“We share the governor’s desire to find ways to reduce costs in the state’s correctional system,” wrote analyst Steve Boilard in a new report issued today. “In fact, we have recommended a wide range of actions to increase efficiencies in all sector of government, including corrections and higher education. However, we recommend rejection of this proposal for a variety of reasons."

The Legislative Analyst's Office report said the proposal would “make it more difficult for the state to effectively allocate funding” to higher education. The analyst also said the governor’s plan “inappropriately pits two program areas against each other.”

"We absolutely need to reverse the trend of spending more money on prisons than we do on higher education," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. McLear took issue with the LAO's contention that this would be another automatic state spending formula and noted, "We've purposely written this in a way where the Legislature can suspend this in an emergency. This proposal is written in a way that the Legislature could suspend it every year."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Steve Boilard in 2007. Credit: Los Angeles Times