The Senate Source

November 2012

Proposition 30 to Have Enormous Impact on UC

Proposition 30 could dramatically change the budget landscape for the University of California.

Formally known as “The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012,” Proposition 30 is a November 6 ballot initiative sponsored by Governor Brown that would increase the personal income tax on individuals earning more than $250,000 for seven years, and the sales tax by ¼ cent for four years. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that it will raise $6 billion annually in the first four years and smaller amounts in subsequent years to help balance the state budget and fund education and public safety programs.

If Proposition 30 fails, UC will face an immediate $250 million trigger cut in this fiscal year and will lose another $125 million tuition buy-out promised for 2012-13. In addition, a multi-year state funding framework being discussed by state and UC leaders would be unlikely. Such a framework would provide modest annual base budget augmentations and predictability to UC’s budget. The UC budget office estimates that Proposition 30 could swing the UC budget by as much as $525 million in total.

Budget cuts have already reduced UC’s state funding by $900 million since 2007-08, and as a result, UC raised tuition by about 75% over that time. The current level for state support is the same as the mid-1990s when UC had about 75,000 fewer students.

Proposition 30 Resources

In the event the measure fails, the Regents will likely consider a significant mid-year tuition increase. The state’s long term ability to invest in higher education will also become less likely.

In April, the Academic Senate voted overwhelmingly to support a Memorial calling on the Regents to support specific ballot measures and legislation to increase state revenues and/or prioritize funding for higher education. In June, after Proposition 30 was added to the ballot, the Academic Council underscored its support for the Memorial by unanimously endorsing Proposition 30. In July, the UC Board of Regents voted overwhelmingly to support Proposition 30.

Academic Senate Chair Robert Powell says the Senate is concerned about the damage budget cuts are having on access, affordability, and quality. He encourages faculty to inform themselves about arguments on both sides of Proposition 30 and to vote on November 6.

“I urge faculty who are concerned about the survival of the University as the leading public university in the world to educate themselves about Proposition 30 and the other propositions on the November ballot,” he said.

CSU and the community college system are also watching Proposition 30 closely. The $1.8 billion collective cut to California’s public higher education system last year was the largest faced by any state government function. If Proposition 30 fails, CSU and the community colleges would also face large additional reductions this year that would total nearly $1 billion. The K-12 system would also be cut significantly.

If both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38--another state income tax increase to support public education--pass, the measure receiving more votes will be implemented. If Proposition 38 passes, UC will be subject to the $250 million trigger cut outlined in the state budget.

Chair Powell says faculty with questions about Proposition 30 should address them to him directly at