Initiative to fund higher ed cleared for circulation

The proponent of a proposed ballot initiative that would hike various taxes to fund California’s public universities and community colleges has been cleared to start collecting petition signatures, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Monday.

Here’s the official title and summary prepared by the state attorney general’s office:

TAXES TO FUND CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. Imposes new taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel ($0.025 per gallon), alcohol ($0.05-$1.65 per gallon), and cigarettes ($0.0125 each); raises vehicle license fees by 0.5% of vehicle market value. Allocates new revenues 80% to University of California and California State University, 20% to California Community Colleges. Maintains state funding for higher education at or above 2009-2010 levels and student financial aid at or above 2010-2011 levels. Caps student tuition and systemwide fees at 2009-2010 levels. Creates joint commission to recommend cost efficiencies in higher education. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Additional state tax revenues from increases in various taxes of about $2.2 billion annually that would be dedicated to public universities and colleges. Depending on whether the new state tax revenues are sufficient to replace lost tuition and fee revenues (due to lower student tuition and fee levels), unknown effect on total funding for public universities and colleges. Depending on whether the new state tax revenues are sufficient to satisfy increased state spending requirements on public universities and colleges, unknown effects on other parts of the state budget and the state General Fund. (12-0015.)

Proponent Jesse Lucas – the California State University-Los Angeles Associated Students’ Legislative Affairs Committee Student-at-Large – must collect at least 807,615 valid signatures from California registered voters by April 15 in order to qualify this for the ballot in November 2014.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Yeah, let’s ask the unemployed college students to chip in for the underclass men. Can’t a dude on his third unpaid internship have a Coors Light without paying more taxes?

  • John W

    Will be interesting to see if this guy has the resources to even get the signatures, let alone a snowball’s chance of passing a ballot measure of any kind, much less one like this.

  • GV Haste

    Detached from reality. Probably a “political science” major.

    Sets out to make sure that everyone voting will find a objectionable tax that applies to themselves.
    Smokers, drivers, drinkers.
    Of course the tobacco and alcohol industry won’t kick in more than 50 million to defeat it.

    Across the state it will pass in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. Defeated everywhere else.

  • Common Tater

    Didn’t we just vote for a tax increase to help fund education? I remember it so vividly – it must have been deja vu.,..

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Obviously the tax that just passed for education, is for the new slow train through Chowchilla. When will California voters wise up?

  • Publius


    “When will California voters wise up?”

    When all of the conservative citizens and productive business owners abandon the state, and the liberals run out of other people’s money to spend.

  • John W

    Re: #6

    The problem is not so much people and employers leaving the state (though that happens) as it is missed opportunities when California companies expand elsewhere. Or companies deciding where to locate don’t even consider California. Hard for the economy to grow under those circumstances.

    Prop. 30 may appear to bring in more tax revenue through the front door, until you count the tax base leaving through the back door or just passing us by on their way to Austin, Research Triangle Park, Oregon, Washington or more mundane but business-friendly places.

    The very wealthy don’t need to leave the state to minimize exposure to Prop. 30. They have numerous lawful ways of sheltering income or delaying the realization of income and gains at least until the “temporary” taxes are scheduled to expire.

  • Publius

    Re: #7

    Its been a while, but today I find myself in complete agreement with you.