Tax and Spend

California’s public colleges and universities on Monday learned how much their budgets will be slashed if voters don’t pass a proposed tax hike this November. It isn’t a pretty picture.

The state’s projected revenue gap has grown to $15.7 billion from a January estimate of $9.2 billion. Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget plan, released Monday, described deep “trigger cuts” to higher education that would kick in without the proposed tax revenue. Those cuts include $250 million reductions for both the University of California and California State University Systems, a $50 million increase over the January estimates, and a $300 million cut for the state’s 112 community colleges.

The governor’s proposed budget would also reduce spending on Cal Grants, the state’s financial aid program, by $38.4 million. Those cuts are aimed at for-profit institutions, and would be made even if the tax plan passes.

Cal State in particular is fractured over the budget crisis, with both the faculty union and system office citing money woes as they take their shots during a deepening power struggle.

Like their peers at the community college and University of California Systems, administrators at Cal State are trying to muster resources and public attention to ensure the tax plan’s passage. But they have gone further, telling applicants that their admission might be contingent on the measure’s passage.

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