Conversations are continuing regarding the potential for a full UC funding restoration. For UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), it would mean the nearly 13 percent funding reduction for the fiscal year 2020-21 would be undone. Funding for the fiscal year 2021-22 would be restored to pre-COVID levels. The agreement to restore the funding is still yet to be finalized, but the potential holds significant promise for UC ANR programs and initiatives.
“We’re very excited, we’re very appreciative of the Legislature doing this. But it is still unclear whether or not this is actually a full restoration of ongoing funding, or if it’s one-time funding,” said Glenda Humiston, UC ANR Vice President. “There’s a huge difference as far how we utilize the state general funds because for us they’re the main funding source to pay salaries of our Cooperative Extension advisors out in the field.”
The first budget subcommittee hearing was held on March 1. Humiston noted that Senate Budget Subcommittee Chair John Laird was particularly enthusiastic about the value that UC ANR provides to the state, warranting funding support. Lawmakers will not be voting on the UC funding restoration for several months, providing ample time for community members to voice their support. There are multiple ways for individuals to weigh-in on the UC funding restoration.
“People can send in letters and that’s a great way to do it because you have the time to say what you want to and mail it in. The other is to actually call. There is public comment during the hearing,” Humiston noted. “If you do that you may have to spend some time waiting on the phone for your turn to make your comment and you only get one minute. But we’re still urging people to call in. It’s important to let the legislature know which programs are important to you and what kind of funding you’d like to see them get.”
The next budget subcommittee hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 9. The UC Advocacy Network also has an online resource available to make providing comments easier.
Listen to the interview below.