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Higher Ed, Taxes, Pay Raises & HSR

The governor has sent out his univerity presidents to tell the voters if his tax increase doesn't pass, higher ed will suffer. What are we to do?

Jul 21, 2012

When Governor Jerry Brown signed the high-speed rail bond into law, he might have signed away any chances of passing his tax increase in November. According to Jim Boren in the Fresno Bee, "In voters' minds, Gov. Jerry Brown's November tax initiative and high-speed rail are connected, and that's not good news for the governor." And according to Field poll director Mark DiCamillo, "here you have an unpopular, multibillion-dollar long-term project kind of rearing its head in the middle of this budget-cutting. It undercuts that whole message, and that's really what's jeopardizing the Brown measure."

So voters have connected the dots on the mega-spending of high-speed rail and the so-called austerity of this year's budget. But, wait! The governor has thrown another dot into the equation: higher education. The governor has sent out his univerity presidents to tell the voters if his tax increase doesn't pass, higher ed will suffer. What are we to do?

Voters will have to decide if approving the tax increase will make responsible legislators out of Sacramento, or just keep feeding the beast. There is no doubt that the governor's tax increase message would have made more sense if he didn't advocate all this increase in spending on high-speed rail. But, as the governor said, “you have to take the bull by the horns and start spending and investing in things that male sense.” Of course, if he gets more money from the taxpayers to spend it will mean less spending and investing the taxpayers will be able to do.

And to make matters even worse for the governor, we now find out from the Fresno Bee that "while demanding pay cuts from most state workers, Senate and Assembly leaders handed out pay raises for 40% of their staffers this past year." And, of course, we have the issue of CSU President's pay raises. Is all this helping you make up your mind about the tax increase? There are a lot of mixed messages out there.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/20/2916617/editorial-pay-raises-illuminate.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://fresnobeehive.com/opinion/2012/07/taxes_and_high-speed_rail.html#storylink=cpy

Welty Weighs in on Looming CSU Cuts

Amanda Venegas

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) The State Board of Trustees is hoping Californians will say yes to the governor's tax measure in November. If they don't, that could mean a $250 million mid-year cut at all Cal State campuses. Fresno State President John Welty says the cut would impact more than just students

While Fresno State students gear up for the fall semester ahead, the state's top leaders are dealing with the grim realities of California's budget dilemmas.

President John Welty said, "That is the fundamental question voters face in November, are we going to invest in public higher education so that we allow students to complete a degree."

Welty is concerned over the cuts that could happen if taxpayers say no to proposition 30. If the measure fails, trustees have two alternatives to handle the $250 million cuts.

One way would be a shared pain among all, which would include a $150 fee increase for students beginning in January 2013 and a 2 ½ reduction in employee salaries across system.

The second plan would be no fee increases, but a five percent pay reduction for employees across the system including university presidents.

Welty said, "We would have to reduce enrollment that would lead to 750 fewer employees across the state, roughly five-percent of those would be here at Fresno State."

Bob Smart is the parent of an incoming student and says the fee would affect more than just the students.

"But it's also going to shift to families, parents," Smart said. "Those are the people that the money ultimately is coming from."

Incoming freshman Anayeli Ayala is like 60 percent of Fresno State students who rely on financial aid to fund her education. But if tuition fees go up, the difference will need to come from somewhere else.

"I feel like that's scary because it holds a lot of responsibility for us in order to help pay for school and we are going to have to find other ways to get more money," Ayala said.

President Welty says the Central Valley lags behind the other state schools when it comes to students completing degrees. He believes more college degrees could help turn the economy around. The CSU Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the plans in September.

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