Governor Proposes Flat Budget for the CSU in 2012-13
Gov. Jerry Brown¿s proposed 2012-13 state budget calls for the same level of state support for the California State University as this year, provided that a November tax initiative is passed by voters.
The governor¿s proposed $2 billion in state support for the CSU reflects the continuation of this year¿s $750 million (27 percent) reduction in funding.
The governor¿s budget plan, which was released yesterday, relies on the passage of a tax measure that would raise income taxes on high-income earners and increase the state sales tax. The measure would generate approximately $7 billion a year in additional revenue in an effort to close a $9.2 billion state general fund deficit.
If voters do not approve the measure, however, a series of trigger cuts would go into effect, including an additional $200 million cut to the CSU. That cut represents funding for almost 27,000 enrolled students.
“Our campuses have done everything they can to get through this fiscal year with a $750 million budget cut,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “We have only survived by implementing numerous cost-cutting measures, being extremely prudent with resources, and spending down one-time reserves. However, we are just about out of options, and if the state does not begin to reinvest in the CSU, we will need to take more drastic measures including cutting enrollment and programs, raising tuition and reducing personnel.”
The $2 billion in state funding allocated to the CSU for the 2012-13 budget is the lowest level of state support the system has received in 15 years, but the university currently serves an additional 90,000 students.
For the past three years, the CSU has instituted a number of cost saving measures including enrollment reductions, employee layoffs and furloughs, deferred maintenance, travel restrictions, and expanded use of information technology, among others.
For the remaining months of the fiscal year, campuses will draw on one-time reserves, delay equipment purchases and facility maintenance work to offset the $100 million ¿trigger¿ cut the CSU received last month. In the next fiscal year, however, extremely difficult longer-term tradeoffs will be considered, including possible additional cuts to academic programs or further increases in tuition.
The budget proposal for 2012-13 does not restore the $100 million trigger cut, making the $750 million reduction permanent to the CSU¿s base budget. In two of the last four fiscal years, state support to the CSU has been dramatically reduced, forcing the CSU¿s Board of Trustees to approve sizable tuition fee increases. But the increases in revenue from tuition hikes ¿ after setting aside one-third for financial aid ¿ have not kept pace with state funding cuts. For the current academic year, tuition increases raised approximately $300 million, but CSU’s budget was cut by $750 million.
“We cannot continue down this path and expect that we can offer the same number of courses to the same number of students and maintain quality,” Reed said. “California needs to make public universities a priority again. It is unrealistic to think the state will be able to grow its economy without an educated workforce.”