Sean McMinn

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong used just one word in a recent interview with CPTV to describe what it would be like if Proposition 30 is defeated: awful. But even Armstrong, who stands to see his university lose more than $14 million upon the proposition’s defeat, said it is important for students to become educated on the issue and make their own decision about whether to vote for or against the statewide tax increase.

1. Proposition 30 would raise income tax on those making more than $250,000 annually by creating three new tax brackets. Currently, there is only one tax rate that applies to people earning between $48,000 and $1 million. In addition to creating new brackets, the proposition also raises the income tax rate on those making more than $1 million yearly by 3 percent.

2. Proposition 30 would also raise the state sales tax by one-quarter of a percent. Though California has one of the highest state sales taxes in the nation, its average county sales tax is near the median in the U.S., according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation research group.

3. There is no long-term guarantee of additional funding to the California State University (CSU) if Proposition 30 passes. The state has promised $125 million to help fund a partial tuition refund from Fall 2012, but there is no plan to increase the CSU’s budget, Cal Poly vice president of administration and finance and chief financial officer Larry Kelley said. University administrators such as Kelley are hopeful, however, that the additional state revenue Proposition 30 generates will free up state resources and allow more to go toward higher education.

4. Proposition 30’s failure would bring a $250 million cut in state funding to the CSU, though that is not written into the proposition. Instead, Gov. Jerry Brown planned his yearly budget with the “trigger cut” in place. The CSU Board of Trustees and California Faculty Association have since endorsed the proposition. That total cut would be divided among the 23 CSU campuses, reducing Cal Poly’s funding by an estimated $14.5 million.

5. The Board of Trustees voted to enact a “trigger on the trigger” at its September meeting, deciding to increase tuition by $300 annually if Proposition 30 fails. Out-of-state students would also see a higher per-unit tuition cost. The Board of Trustees will vote on further tuition raises during its November meeting, including fee increases on students repeating classes, students taking more than 16 units and “super seniors,” or those who have completed more than 225 quarter units or 150 semester units.

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