Our Letter in Support of LAO Compromise Budget Language on Funding UCRP

June 27, 2010

Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny, Chair
Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 5035
Sacramento, CA 95814
fax (916) 327-3522

Re: Support LAO compromise budget language of June 14, 2010, for Higher Education (I), page 34, issue 508; support removal of Education Code Sec. Section 92612.5 language which prohibits General Fund contributions to UCRP.

Dear Chair Ducheny,

The Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) supports adoption of the June 14, 2010, language proposed by the LAO, which relates to the Budget Conference Committee item 508 on UC Retirement Plan (UCRP). We also recommend that the Committee adopt the Assembly position and remove Sec. 92612.5 of the Education Code, which states intent to not provide future General Fund augmentations for the purpose of funding UCs retirement plan.

The need to restart contributions to UCRP has been recognized for several years. During most of that time, no definitive action was taken to address the issue even as the situation became increasingly urgent. Since April 2010, UC and its employees have been making contributions at a very modest level. There is a pressing need for much larger contributions from employees and the University. This can be achieved only if the State meets its obligation to play a role by providing funds to UC for the employer contribution.

The proposed LAO language requests a substantive proposal from the University for funding UCRP. This will be a solid basis for additional discussion and action by the Legislature and the Governor. In addition to taking the first step in a necessary process, it will also send the encouraging message that the State will give appropriate consideration to an issue of great importance to the University.

Section 92612.5 of the Education Code states It is the intent of the Legislature that no new General Fund augmentation be made available for contributions to the University of California Retirement Plan. While this section has never had more than symbolic significance, its existence is an ongoing irritation. In restarting modest contributions without State participation, the University and its employees have shown good faith and indicated how seriously they take the health of UCRP. We ask that the Legislature show similar good faith by removing Sec. 92612.5.

We strongly urge the Legislature to begin now with the small steps it can take this year toward restoring the health of UCRP. A failure of all partners to join together in the actions that are needed will make it impossible for the University to continue its mission of providing access to an affordable, high quality education.

Sincerely,
Joe Kiskis
CUCFA Vice President for External Relations,
and Professor of Physics, UC Davis

cc: Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, Vice Chair
Senator Bob Dutton
Senator Bob Huff
Senator Mark Leno
Senator Alan Lowenthal
Assemblymember Connie Conway
Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes
Assemblymember Jim Nielsen
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner