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Brown, Napolitano Join to Hammer Out UC Budget

SACRAMENTO (CN) - After months of disagreement over the University of California System budget, Gov. Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano have formed a two-person advisory committee - themselves - to find ways to reduce costs and avoid tuition hikes.

The UC Board of Regents approved the committee at a board meeting Wednesday in San Francisco.

Brown and Napolitano have publicly voiced opposing ideas on the UC's proposed budget.

In November 2014 the regents proposed a systemwide tuition hike that would raise costs by 5 percent per year until 2020.

Napolitano advocated a $220 million increase in funding for the 2015 fiscal year, then Brown added $120 million to the UC System in his budget proposal this month.

While Napolitano spoke of the importance of additional funding for facilities improvements, Brown called for discretion in adding facilities and additions to the UC System.

"I get the idea that amenities are important to a lot of people," Brown said. "I think we have to balance the basics and keep the lights on, keep the roof from leaking; maybe that's not exciting, but over the long term it will serve us better."

Brown and Napolitano will conduct closed meetings over the next two months, seeking ideas to avoid tuition hikes and trim UC spending. They will present a report of their findings to the regents in March.

"It's an advisory committee of two that I think will be engaged deeply and holistically looking at the university and its future," Napolitano said.

Brown described the committee as just a "preliminary inquiry" and assured the regents that they are the ultimate authority. Brown called for the formation of the advisory committee during his budget proposal on Jan. 9.

"We're going to look at the disciplinary structure and the whole gamut to find compromise," Brown said during his budget speech. "Savings can be had."

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