California's population has more than doubled from 15 million in 1960 to 32 million in 2000. (It has increased by more than 50% from 1980 to 2008, data from Wolfram Alpha.)
(Graphic and data from censusscope.org.)
Undergraduates in 2010 have to pay over 4.5 times what 1980 students did, even in inflation-adjusted dollars. At the same time, the state government has cut its funding to less than a third of what it was, in inflation-adjusted dollars.
(Graphic and data from UC Pay)
To add insult to injury, California state prison funding has risen as a percentage of the state budget, while university funding has fallen.
(Graphic from Professor Bainbridge)
The article from which I got the above graphic suggests that the Governer is attempting to change the way higher education is funded, but is doing so in a way that will pit the very powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association against it. (An anecdote: While searching swivel for statistical data on "California" and "Prison", an ad came up for a petition against the Governer's proposal to reduce prison costs.)