SPECIAL SERIES : SF State Budget Woes
California Faculty Lobby to Save CSU
CFA endorses "1% Option" to divert revenues to CSU
May 18, 2004 12:23 PM
Last Friday, members of the California Faculty Association met with Assemblymember Leland Y. Yee-District 12, and District Director David Burruto, to lobby a plan to save the California State University system from further cuts.
The association has proposed an alternative deal to the one made between the University of California, the CSU and Gov. Schwarzenegger May 11, in which the university officials agreed to an additional $700 million cuts in both systems now, in exchange for a promise of financial stability in the future.
Mitch Turitz, CFA president of the SF State chapter, told Leland’s office that since Proposition 98, which was passed in 1988 and guaranteed public schools a certain amount of funding each year, has been suspended by an earlier agreement between the governor and K-12 representatives, one percent of the freed-up funds should go to the CSU system.
The proposal, which was handed to Burruto, is called the “1% Option,” because it would generate $342 million dollars for the CSU and provide a partial 2004-05 budget solution.
“If these budgets happen, we would have already endured over half a billion dollars in cuts in two years and it’s going to be devastating to our economy and the future of California,” Turitz told Burruto.
Along with Turitz, were SF State, CFA members Julian F. Randolph, professor emeritus of foreign language, professor of health education and lobbyist Ramon Castellblanch, and creative arts professor Joel Schecter.
“I want to know what the Democratic leadership is going to do when it comes time to debate,” Castellblanch asked Burruto.
Burruto responded by saying that the CSU cuts are a very serious issue for the legislature. “I’m very pleased that you have a plan and I am going to review it with the staff and see what can be done,” he said.
Burruto said that the debates are just beginning.
“Eliminating these tax loopholes would see to it that students who are eligible for entrance will not be denied to the CSU system,” said Turitz.
A copy of the proposal detailed how California is the only state that does not tax oil when it is removed from the ground. By taxing such a process the state can generate at least $300 million, the document indicated.
Randolph, who is an alumnus of SF State, said that many elected officials were educated at a CSU and that this is “yet another sword in the heart of the master plan.” He is referring to the promise made in the mid-1960’s that every person in California was entitled to an opportunity for an education.
Yee told the group that he is sympathetic to the situation and as a SF State alumnus he was surprised at the deal made. “I was shocked at how the administration capitulated the request made by the governor.”
Although these cuts still have to pass the state legislature this summer, the CFA will continue to have lobby days with its representatives. The next scheduled lobby day is on May 21 with Assemblyman Gene Mullin, and May 28 with Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco. If you are interested in attending the meetings please contact CFA at (415) 338-6232.
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