As the State Legislature holds a hearing about the University of California, consider the following:

UC will collect $3.5 billion from the state this year, just six percent more than a decade ago. Since 2010, state spending on UC is up just two-thirds of the growth rate of state revenues and just a fraction of the 76%, 58% and 32% increases in state spending on pensions, healthcare and corrections over that period. As the Los Angeles Times recently reported, UC just underwent its eighth state audit in recent years. Sound fair? It gets worse:

It’s all about power. Public employee unions and healthcare enterprises actively prowl the halls of the State Capitol. UC alumni and faculty do not.

Abysmal state treatment of UC will continue until UC alumni and faculty get politically active and pay close attention to how state legislators vote.

UC Berkeley faculty might want to start by examining the voting records of the two state legislators who represent Berkeley: State Senator Nancy Skinner and State Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. As a start, they should check their votes for compensation increases for Corrections employees, including one year in which the legislature cut spending on UC. Just the latest compensation increase will cost the General Fund — the source of UC’s funding — an additional $600 million per year. That’s nearly twice the total amount per average UC campus per year.

UC doesn’t always do everything right and can always improve but state spending on UC is a tiny fraction of state spending on pensions, healthcare and Corrections. The legislature needs to act fairly. UC alumni and faculty should pay attention.