Magazine Article

CSU Budget Hinges on November Revenue Measure

Mark Weirick, Northern California Student Organizing Coordinator for CFA, rallied last March with thousands of CSU, UC and California Community
College students who occupied the state Capitol rotunda to protest cuts to higher education funding.

On June 27, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s 2012/13 budget. Contained in the budget was the Legislature’s approval of Gov. Brown’s proposed “flat budget”—$2 billion in continued state support for the CSU.

However, if in the election this November voters reject the governor’s initiative, Proposition 30, to bring in more revenue, the CSU will suffer a $250 million “trigger” reduction.

 The 2012/13 state budget adopted in June eliminates California’s structural budget deficit and creates a structural budget surplus that is expected to grow to more than $2.3 billion in 2015/16.

It is important to understand that the governor and state legislature balanced this budget with difficult ongoing cuts across the board, including significant changes to the state’s welfare program and low-income children’s health insurance as well as reductions in child-care coverage.

The budget assumes passage of the governor’s revenue initiative (Prop 30: The Schools and Public Safety Protection Act of 2012). A long list of cuts to schools, higher education and other important state services will be triggered automatically if voters reject the initiative.

In addition to these cuts, at least seven state employee unions, including those representing the correctional officers, CA Highway Patrol officers, and the large number of state workers represented by SEIU Local 1000, have agreed to accept furloughs amounting to a 5% reduction in pay this year.

Student fee rollback possible

Also linked to the passage of Prop 30 is an opportunity to roll back student fees. During the final days of state budget wrangling, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez strongly advocated for a proposal to freeze UC and CSU tuition. For 2013/14, the budget adopted in June will appropriate $125 million each to UC and CSU, contingent on these conditions:

  1. The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012 (Prop 30) is approved by the voters, and
  2. UC and CSU maintain the respective 2011/12 mandatory system-wide tuition and fee levels during the 2012/13 academic year. That means that in order to receive this appropriation, the CSU Board of Trustees would have to rescind the 9% tuition hike that it approved last November and that students are paying now forthe fall term.

To avoid more painful cuts and give students a much needed breather from fee hikes, we all need to work for passage of Prop 30.