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Brown says Prop. 30 not a panacea, thanks Cal State for support

Students walk on the campus of California State University Northridge in 2011.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday his tax hike measure wasn't a "panacea" to the state's budget problems and that more effort will be needed to manage the state's finances.

Speaking to the Cal State Board of Trustees, Brown thanked the board, students and faculty for helping to pass Proposition 30 in last week's election. The measure will raise the state sales tax a quarter-cent for four years and increase the income tax of the state's highest earners for seven years.

The trustees were scheduled to vote Tuesday on a series of proposed "incentive" fees aimed at boosting graduation rates and freeing classroom space. But the proposal was pulled before Tuesday's meeting.

Brown acknowledged those needs and told the board that "there are tough decisions ahead."

But he added: "Keeping down fees means keeping down costs. It also means we have to look for more revenues to invest in higher education."

He said Sacramento needs to "find ways to collaborate" and said he would look to "lower adversarial relationships."

Proposition 30, which will allow Cal State to reimburse students for a $249 tuition hike that went into effect this fall, was a vote of confidence in higher education and should signal an effort to find new ways to do business, Brown said.

"That means getting out of your comfort zone, whether trustees, faculty or students," he said.

In opening remarks, board Chairman A. Robert Linscheid said he removed the fee proposal from the agenda to study its consequences further, in light of Proposition 30 passing and after hearing objections from students and others.

"The mission is still important, to free up space for other students, but there may be other avenues to get to that goal," Linscheid said.

Many students and faculty criticized the proposal as a "punishment fee," contending it would create more obstacles for students and set up a hierarchy favoring those who could pay. Students had planned to protest the fee increases.

The proposed fees, which would have taken effect next fall, include:

--A per-unit supplement of $372 for "super seniors" who have accumulated 160 semester units.

--A $91 per-unit fee to repeat a class.

--A $182 per-unit fee for any course load of 18 units or more.

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-- Carla Rivera

Photo: Students walk on the campus of California State University Northridge in 2011. On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown thanked the Cal State board of trustees, students and faculty for their support in passing Proposition 30.  Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

 
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