Calif. Republicans Will Try to Block Trigger Cuts

Republicans in California’s State Assembly announced last week that they would try to stop trigger cuts to California’s public universities if Proposition 30 fails on Tuesday. Proposition 30’s failure would automatically cut $250 million to both the UC and CSU systems as well as additional cuts to California’s community colleges.

UC tuition is expected to jump $2,400 in January 2013 if failed Proposition 30’s trigger cuts go into effect, and students could expect annual increases —potentially around 15 percent—for the next three years.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway told Capital Public Radio Oct. 30 that while no specifics are yet available, Republicans in the legislature would try to find alternative ways to fill a budget hole that Prop. 30’s failure would create.

“I’m not saying it’s gonna be easy, but that’s our job,” Conway said during a CPR broadcast. “We need to do some soul-searching and look around and figure out what we can do.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has said that he will veto any attempt to block the trigger cuts — in doing so, he hopes to encourage more California voters to support the ballot measure, which raises income taxes on households earning over $250,000 for seven years and increases sales tax by one-quarter-of-one-percent for four years. Proposition 30 is particularly important to Brown, as the enacted 2012 state budget assumes the measure will pass and uses the new funding to close budget holes.

“I will veto any bill that attempts to undo the trigger cuts,” Brown said in a recent interview with Capital Public Radio. “We have to balance our budget.”

In September, the governor signed AB 970, a law that requires the California college systems to give students and their families more advance warning before enacting a fee hike. University systems will now have to tell affected parties at least 30 days prior to passing a tuition hike.

Despite the new law, UCSD Vice President of External Affairs Olamide Noah sent an email to councilmembers on Nov. 1 clarifying that although, under the new law, UC Regents would need to announce potential increases at least 10 days before a meeting, the law does not take effect until January. “Today, [UC Student Regent Jonathan Stein] told me that AB 970 goes into effect Jan. 1, and thus, unfortunately, won’t apply to a November tuition increase,” she wrote.

Even if Prop. 30 passes, UC students will not be clear from more fee increases. A potential tuition hike of around five percent is likely for 2013-2014 even if Proposition 30 is successful.