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With tax question in voters' hands, Cal State ponders budget cuts

Cal State L.A. students. The university system might hike tuition midyear if hoped-for funding doesn't come through.If Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan is rejected by voters, California State University could raise tuition in the middle of the academic year.

That's one of a few options expected to be discussed by the university's trustees Tuesday.

“These are all difficult challenges and choices that the CSU must consider to address our severe budget situation,” said Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor for budget, in a statement.

Brown is hoping voters approve a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax and higher levies on the wealthy in November. If the taxes don't pass, Cal State and the University of California would each suffer $250 million in budget cuts.

Without the taxes or tuition increases, enrollment in the following academic year would need to be cut by 6,000 students, and 750 faculty and staff positions would be eliminated, Cal State officials said.

Other budget-cutting options are on the table too. Salaries could be reduced and employees mayhave to pay more for benefits. Students may be charged extra for taking a class a second time or for staying at the university more than five years.

The Brown administration and Democratic lawmakers are trying to prevent tuition increases by promising universities more funding in the 2013-14 fiscal year. But that funding will be available only if voters approve the higher taxes.

RELATED:

Budget deal seeks to freeze UC, CSU tuition

Thousands march on Capitol to protest cuts in college funding

Jerry Brown signs budget that relies on voter-backed tax hikes

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

twitter.com/ChrisMegerian

Photo: Cal State L.A. students head to class in March. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

 
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