Less money, fewer students The state continues to chip away at the California State University system’s budget, and on Dec. 18 CSU Chancellor Charles Reed announced that each of the 23 campuses must cut enrollment growth by 1 percent. That will help make up the $23.7 million cut, which comes on top of $304 million already cut from the 2003-04 budget.It was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to redirect $150 million to local governments, to “backfill” revenues lost when he slashed the vehicle license fee, that siphoned the money away from the universities.
Instead of growing by 4.3 percent as planned, the CSU as a whole can afford to accept only 3.3 percent more students—in a year with record applications received.
Chico State’s interim president, Scott McNall, said in a meeting last week that administrators were already planning for such a mid-year cut.
Kind of like Limbaugh…
“It means we’re all fat, dumb and happy,” replied Butte County CAO Paul McIntosh, when asked what the governor’s emergency release of cash last week meant for the county. County staff and supervisors are sighing in relief this week after they had become increasingly frustrated with the state Legislature, which held up funding for local governments after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger repealed the car tax hike.
Unfortunately, while McIntosh said the infusion would help stave off layoffs and cuts in county services, it may not avert them altogether. “We have our own problems above and beyond the VLF,” he said, citing rising costs across the board for county services, workers’ compensation, insurance and insurance benefits.
Department heads are still looking at ways to cut costs, which may ultimately lead to layoffs. The governor’s emergency release of funds means only that cuts “won’t be as rapid or as drastic as we expected,” McIntosh said. Besides, the state is still a long way from backfilling the full $3 billion lost with the VLF cut.
State Senator Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, has been named as one of eight vice chairmen on President George W. Bush’s California reelection committee. Also on the committee are eye-drop spokesman and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein, our own Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, French-loved telethon…, no wait, we mean Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, infamous recall financier turned gubernatorial campaign dropout Darrell Issa, and a score or two of Republican politicians and B-list celebrities. Not to be left out, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was named Honorary Co-chair.With 54 electoral votes—the most of any state—California could end up being a crucial swing state in the ’04 election. If it’s up to these guys, we can all rest easy knowing we’re in for another four years of “compassionate conservatism.”