Support for Proposition 56: Budget Accountability Act

AS-2636-04/FGA - January 22-23, 2004

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) support Proposition 56 (Budget Accountability Act) on the March 2004 ballot and urge that campus senates consider similar resolutions to express their support for the Proposition and then communicate that support through local media.

RATIONALE: The Budget Accountability Act permits the Legislature to enact State Budget-related taxes and spending with a 55 percent vote rather than the two-thirds vote currently required. The Proposition also requires that 25 percent of "excess" state revenue be set aside as a "rainy day fund." Finally, it requires that the Legislature and Governor lose salary and expenses each day the budget is late and requires the budget summary in the state ballot pamphlet to direct voters to the State's web site and budget-related vote information.

The current two-thirds vote "super majority" requirement has repeatedly allowed the state budget process to be held hostage by a minority of legislators, delaying the timely enactment of the state budget beyond the constitutional deadline of July 1. These delays have had a negative impact on system and campus budget decision making during the days and weeks before the arrival of students for fall semester classes. The delays and indecision have an impact on the ability of campuses to provide the most appropriate schedule of classes and services to our students.

The proposed "rainy day fund" would provide a fiscal means for mitigating the extremes of the "boom and bust" cycle in higher education funding and the accompanying sharp increases in student fees and their impact on students. This fund could serve to protect investments in higher education and insulate students from dramatic fee increases during bad economic times in California.

Late passage of budgets makes it impossible for the CSU to implement changes over the whole budget year, typically resulting in double impact in winter and/or spring terms.

APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY - January 22-23, 2004

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