2002 EDITION - Issue No. 23
August 9, 2002



Entering the sixth week of the new fiscal year without a budget, Assembly Democrats attempted to garner Republican votes by compromising on a Vehicle License Fee budget proposal that would have increased the VLF by 40 percent. In exchange, the Democrats offered a $3/pack increase in the cigarette tax. Although the Assembly Republicans claimed a reduction of the VLF increase was their "top priority", no Republicans voted for the amended budget with the new cigarette tax. Additionally, Assembly Republicans are demanding even deeper cuts than the $7 billion that have already occurred.

Unfortunately, there is no sign of a budget agreement being reached soon, and some legislative insiders are anticipating a budget won't be approved until after the Legislature adjourns at the end of August, and maybe not until after the November election.

CFA has been meeting with the Davis administration and legislative leaders in its efforts to protect the CSU budget from further reductions, and secure CFA-sponsored budget language proposals that would safeguard faculty compensation dollars, and place a freeze on the CMS/PeopleSoft computer data project until a CFA/CSEA-CSU jointly sponsored state audit is completed early next year.

In the meantime, state agencies - including the CSU - have been notified to prepare for a minimum 20 percent on-going budget cut that is "intended to be permanent" beginning in the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2003. In its letter to state agencies, the Department of Finance states: "Agencies should review all programs for reduction opportunities. These reduction plans must incorporate and consider one or more of the following: 1) repeal of statutorily required activities or programs; 2) elimination of discretionary programs; 3) consolidation of programs; 4) Agency reorganization of departments, boards, commissions, and offices (proposed reorganizations that cross Agency jurisdictions must be submitted jointly by the affected Agencies); 5) restructuring program responsibilities between the State and local governmental entities, and 6) reduction in cost and/or service level. Agencies must submit 20-percent spending reduction plans even if they also provide revenue proposals."

Initial reactions by various state agency heads have identified cuts to programs affecting children's inoculations, educational services for hearing-impaired children, drug treatment facilities, teen pregnancy education and counseling, and closing prison facilities. CFA is working to ensure that instructional and student service programs are protected and given the highest funding priority in any CSU-recommended reductions.

UPDATE ON AB 2549 - Lecturers Retirement Bill

Based on suggestions from the Governor's Office and Senator Dede Alpert (D-San Diego), CFA is amending AB 2549 (Nation), which is awaiting a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee. In its amended form the bill, which would allow lecturers who teach a minimum of 6 units for two consecutive semesters or three consecutive quarters to negotiate for membership in the CalPERS retirement program, stipulates that while the benefit could be bargained beginning in January 2003, the benefit could not be provided until July 1, 2004. This amendment increases the possibility that the Governor will sign the bill.

CFA has been actively lobbying the Governor's Office on this bill in anticipation of it passing out of the Senate soon. In addition, CFA faculty "lobbyists" have met with Senator Alpert, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, in her San Diego office. Thanks to Rolf Schulze and Leilani Grajeda-Higley from CSU, San Diego. In the course of their meeting, and subsequently, Senator Alpert indicated her support for the bill. CFA is also in the process of initiating a grassroots effort to get the Governor to sign AB 2549. Stay alert for more information.

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