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Sonoma County college leaders hail Prop. 30′s passage


Patrick Maloney, a junior at Sonoma State University, woke up Wednesday morning to a pleasant surprise.

California voters had approved Proposition 30, the statewide tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown to raise about $6 billion a year for education.

Political Science major Patrick Mahoney, 20, is a third-year student at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park and is a statewide issues senator and a leader for a campus drive that helped to register more than 1,000 students to vote, with a focus on Proposition 30, during the latest election, Friday Nov. 9, 2012. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

For thousands of state university students, it meant money in the bank: specifically a $249 refund of a tuition fee increase they paid this fall.

For Maloney, a 20-year-old political science major from Sacramento, it also was a payoff for a successful campaign to register more than 1,000 SSU students to vote in Tuesday’s election.

“It wasn’t a tough sell,” said Maloney, who organized the drive in his role as statewide issues senator in the Associated Students group. “When I told them how it directly affected them, they were like, ‘Sign me up.’”

Prior to the election, the CSU Board of Trustees agreed to rescind the $249 per semester tuition fee hike if Prop 30 passed, returning annual tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students to $5,472, the same as last academic year.

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said he hoped that passage of Proposition 30, by a 54 to 46 percent margin, marks “the beginning of the state’s reinvestment in higher education.”

California “needs to start making up for the devastating budget cuts of the past several years and focus on higher education as a driver of California’s economic future,” Reed said in a statement.

Maloney said the California State Student Association, which represents the 23 state universities, attempted to register 35,000 students to vote this fall, and SSU exceeded its goal.

Proposition 30 was a conversation topic among SSU students “who know what’s going on around them,” Maloney said.

The only qualms, he said, came from “fiscally conservative” students who had reservations about the temporary increases in personal income and sales taxes.

Students not only get back $249 now, but also avoided a $150 tuition fee increase proposed by CSU trustees for the spring semester in the event Proposition 30 failed.

Maloney said he went to bed Tuesday night while the measure was trailing, and was delighted to learn it had passed by 8 points.

In Sonoma County, Proposition 30 won by a 66 to 34 percent margin.

Larry Furukawa-Schlereth, SSU’s chief financial officer, said the tuition refunds would cost the school $3 million, which will have to be offset from other sources, most likely from cash reserves.

But the measure was “a huge positive step” for SSU, he said.

Had Proposition 30 failed, SSU would have had to cover a permanent $5 million budget loss, Furukawa-Schlereth said.

Student fees at Santa Rosa Junior College were not affected by the ballot measure, but its failure would have cost the school $6.3 million — doubling the budget deficit for the current fiscal year to $12.3 million.

Because the budget had to be approved months before the election, it offset the $12.3 million loss by cutting 530 class sections and shutting 2,920 students out of classes, officials said.

“We acted conservatively,” said Doug Roberts, vice president of business services. “We could not afford to gamble (on the ballot measure) and lose.”

With Proposition 30′s passage, SRJC will begin restoring the class cuts in the upcoming summer and fall semesters, president Frank Chong said.

Chong joined other SSU managers, faculty and staff in working phone banks to support Proposition 30.

“This was a high-stakes game,” he said. “Everybody agreed this proposition, if it didn’t pass, would spell disaster for our students and for our institution.”

Roberts said that SRJC dodged a fiscal bullet thanks to voters, but still faces a $6 million “structural deficit” that was bridged by one-year staff salary concessions and dipping into reserves this year.

“We have a longer-term problem,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

20 Responses to “Sonoma County college leaders hail Prop. 30′s passage”

  1. barbi says:


    I appreciate your desire to have well educated students, a noble cause, but our students will never get there under the current state MANDATED standards which are derived from Common Core. The idea behind the standards is to make all students “equal.” Since you can’t make the kids who are dumb or don’t try, smarter, you must make the smart, hard working kids dumber. On top of that, there is an obvious agenda to brainwash students into certain belief systems that will benefit those who intend to capitalize on the propaganda. Case in point, is the global warming lie which has turned Al Gore into a billionaire.
    You can throw as much money as you want at stupid and you will just get bankrupt stupid on steroids.
    But no matter, Prop 30 was a scam perpetrated by Jerry Brown anyway. He had to figure out a way to cover the gambling loses to the TBTF banks.
    Here is an excellent white paper for those who managed to get enough of an education to be able to read through it. (hint: not today’s California High School graduates.)

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  2. Jim says:

    “Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that,”

    When I worked full time to pay for my JC classes and my university classes, then started at the bottom in my field, worked my way up to earn more money, then started a business where I employed 2-3 people, lived on meager wages as I reinvested into myself and my business, I wasn’t EXTRACTING anything. I studied to become educated. I CREATED jobs. I CREATED revenue. I didn’t disproportionately EXTRACT anything. When I was laid off from my job when the financial sector collapsed, I picked up whatever jobs I could and re-enrolled in school to make myself more marketable. My SKILL is my SKILL. Everyone has a skill in something. Because many people choose not to polish their skill shouldn’t mean those who do should be punished.

    We have a governor who believes there is such a thing as “extracting from the national wealth” and a President who believes that I didn’t build my business, the government did. I’m dumbfounded.

    The historic expansion of government spending under Obama, the historic increase in those receiving government handouts and the believe that the government is the answer to everything has completely ruined the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in this country. Why create a business when the government takes credit and an ever increasing portion of the rewards? Why seek employment when the government will pay you to do nothing?

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  3. Jim says:

    To those who believe American is the land of opportunity, and you reap what you sow…those days are over. The recent election and reoccurring rhetoric from the current ruling party in the state and the country prove that the mindset of the people has changed. Those who succeed are demonized. Those who don’t must have been cheated. It is sad. Look at this quote from Jerry Brown just a couple days ago (which has been buried by the media)…

    “Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that,”

    “Those who have extracted from the NATIONAL WEALTH…have to SHARE more…”
    This kind of language only existed in the Soviet Union 40 years ago. Now it is the mantra of half the country. There is no longer a reward for hard work. Those who succeed are punished. Where is the incentive to work hard, work long hours, sacrifice immediate rewards for future security? You work hard, re-invest, become wealthy and you must “SHARE”. You spend everything, take your whole life and you get the benefits of the “SHARING”.

    Yeah, Prop 30 is just the beginning.

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  4. The Hammer says:

    Tax and spend, nothing new here.

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  5. Snarky says:

    MockingBird needs to focus on HOW the funds of Prop 30 will be used.

    The SF Chronicle is reporting today that the government idiots gambled and lost with OUR money… and now Prop 30 funds will be used, in part, to pay off those gambling debts.

    Or course, none of the public employees nor bureaucrats will be fired for gambling with OUR money… government never fires its criminals.

    Speaking of criminals, when will the Press Democrat be publishing information on just who it was within local police circles was responsible for the ILLEGAL election material that was mailed out to attack Gary Wysocky. Those responsible were criminals despite their badges… but they hide and keep a low profile…now that they were found out.

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  6. Snarky says:

    SF Chronicle, Online

    Adam Goldstein and Jacob Habinek
    Published 2:02 a.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    “”Prop. 30 Funds For UC Will Go To Wall Street”"


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  7. Accountable says:

    @Mockingbird-I would have voted for Prop 30 if there was true accountability in the school systems. I know, first hand, that Districts go out of their way to hide financial maneuverings from the public. Teachers and staff are not held accountable (fired and not allowed to “retire”) when they are ineffective, abusive, etc. California teachers are the highest paid in the nation, but we aren’t seeing any added value.

    Chicago school teachers battled with the Mayor, but finally conceded to lengthening the school day, which is now 1 hour longer than most schools in Sonoma County. Why does the Union have to battle against parents and students, because that is who they are really battling against. Is it any wonder why so many charter schools are popping up?

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  8. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I appear to be the only poster supporting public schools. I too am a taxpayer but I believe that educating our children MORE THAN ADEQUATELY is important to the future of this country. We need our children to be able to compete on a world market and they need the education to do it. This country is NOT doing a good job and we are waaayyyyy behind the 8ball compared to other countries. So much for being the strongest and mightiest country in the world. That’s not going to last long if we don’t educate our children properly to compete.

    When I went to school I was able to graduate and get into Sonoma State College easily from a very small Mendocino County town. I was qualified for both grants and loans and tuition was extremely low. I graduated with about $2400 in loans that was easily paid off quarterly at 2%. My daughter has $100,000 in loans and working THREE JOBS just to make ends meet. I know how extremely hard it was for her to make it into UC from SRJC, then for a masters. She has worked extremely hard. When she graduated, she is working in her field but as a part time teacher because she can’t find a fulltime job. Somehow I think this is unfair compared to how easy it was in the past and how good our schools were then.

    California is 47th in this country in spending and the quality of schools is pathetic. Classes that I had access to in grammar and high school have been cut. Art, science, music, literature, PE, sports, social studies, history, political science all have been cut or cut out or disemboweled. A possible virtuoso music student or genius art student get nothing unless their parents are rich enough to pay for private instruction. These classes are just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.

    I was fortunate to learn to read and play music in school which helped me with advanced math. I still can’t draw but the art classes were enjoyable. One never knows what will turn a child onto learning and help them find their future path in the world. They need to be given every opportunity to find their way.

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  9. Reality Check says:


    With supermajorities in both houses, cutting spending by Democrats is the last thing that might happen. As to social services bearing the brunt of cuts, if so that’s only because the money needed to be diverted to meet public employee raises and fringe benefit obligations.

    The current general fund budget is $92.5 billion, a 7% increase over last year’s $86.5B. If this state has a budget problem, it’s on the spending side. But, hey, Democrats can raise taxes as much as they want. Go for it.

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  10. Que Sera says:

    Proposition 30 was passed by and uniformed leming voters who never saw the true reason our schools were underfunded.

    Democrats simply are without the common sense to run a company or a state. What they do know is that if they use the publics money to overpay every civil servant in the state, they cant afford to maintain the education system. So they tell the lemings our schools need help. Yes, because the same democrats that used school money to buy the votes of Public Employees . Had they not we didnt need prop. 30.
    But tax and spend has always been the way in California. Democrats didnt mind if you lost your home because of lack of jobs in the state. Or state taxes were down because of the inability of the state to attract new businesses. But a new tax, sales tax, school tax just makes the state less desireable to businesses and people.
    Santuary cities assures us that as the citizens leave the state and take their money with them, Californias highly educated illegals will give us a farm economy and nothing more. That is until the water runs out!
    California is in worse shape than during the depression. Prop 30 will have more negative effects than positive! Does anyone believe California schools are half as good as they were 40 or 50 years ago? Businesses dont seem to think so!

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  11. GAJ says:

    Now that the Democrats have a Supermajority they don’t have the backbone to do what we all know needs to happen; raise taxes, because there’s no way they will be successful in budget cutting our way out of deficit mess.

    FYI, 9% of the general fund goes to interest payments on bonds floated to fund our illusory budget.

    “Labor leaders and advocates for social services that have borne the brunt of recent state budget cuts are ripped over legislative leaders Darrell Steinberg and John Pérez’s out-the-gate pledge not to raise taxes, even though it looks like the Democrats will have supermajorities in both houses.

    No one will talk on the record, but the feeling is, “We finally get the power, and you guys already give it up?”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/California-Democratic-leaders-rile-allies-4026609.php#ixzz2C2eEAnl7

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  12. Jim says:

    @ David…

    I’m nowhere near the 1%. I have intimate knowledge of many married couples who exceed $250,000/year in INCOME. One is a couple of police officer who make $250,000+ easy. Another is a successful businessman and his teacher wife. These aren’t the scarlett lettered “Wall Streeters” or “Bankers”. They are merely hard workers, and/or overpaid union workers.

    For those of you who just don’t understand fiscal matters, INCOME is not WEALTH. INCOME is taxed, WEALTH is not. When speaking of the 1% the blowhards never clarify but it can be inferred that they are referring to the top 1% of income earners, not the top 1% based on net worth. This is a reasonable inference because, as stated, INCOME is taxed and WEALTH isn’t. And the left’s endless rhetoric about this phantom (the unnamed 1%) is all about raising taxes on them.

    The facts state that the top 1% of income earners in any given year are rarely in the 1% in a subsequent year. Example, a real estate agent may have brought in $300,000+ easily in the boom times. Now, not even close. A tech stock investor may have made a ton of money in 1996-1999, then in 2000-2004 made nothing.

    So Jerry Brown conned the voters into thinking that the “rich” need to “pay their fair share” while the IRS and Franchise Tax Board figures show that the “rich” (i.e. high earners) pay the vast majority of the taxes. Why isn’t the “fair share” the same for everyone, like a flat tax? Then EVERYONE would pay “their fair share”, everyone would pay a flat amount of their income. You make $1, you pay 10% (or whatever rate is calculated as “fair”). You make $10,000, you pay 10%. $100,000…you pay 10%. Wouldn’t that ensure EVERYONE pays “their fair share”?

    Yet, here we go again…the government has plenty of money. Wastes BILLIONS on contracts with connected companies. Billions are wasted on pensions…payouts to those who provide NO SERVICE to those who pay the taxes. They waste billions on a train that will be an endless drain on the CA economy (that’s assuming it is ever finished, which I don’t think it will ever be). Then the left wants MORE to waste rather than spending in a fiscally conservative manner.

    Attack me all you want. I’m not in the 1% on income earners. I may be 25-30% of that. I was laid off because of the banking collapse and found a job at significantly less money, just like a lot of people. I’m just one who believes EVERYONE should pay equally for the benefit of living here. I believe the Legislature is completely incompetent, 100% corrupt and should be no more than part-time. The numbers are the numbers. The State spends significantly more than they take in, year after year after year. Yet, the idiot voters re-elect them all, then are easily duped into believing that Prop 30 will actually help the wasteful spending.

    The voters just gave the exact same over-spending liars MORE money and think something will change. Completely ludicrous.

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  13. David says:

    I honestly thought that paying for a vote waS ILLEGAL IN THIS STATE BUT i GUESS NOT WHEN IT COMES TO INCREASING TAXES! Why the hell do we let the college promise the voters that their fee will be reduced if they vote the way the college wants?

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  14. Accountable says:

    @David S – you are a retired police officer. That’s an $80,000 guaranteed annual income, plus lifetime, excellent benefits for your entire family. If you are CalPers, the tax on that guaranteed retirement is around 10%. And, you have the flexibility to add a fulltime job to supplement that guaranteed income.

    Individuals making $250,000 will likely see increases at both the state and federal level. Many are small business owners who have catastrophic health plans and have to save for their own retirement, in addition to paying for yours.

    So, you really have it better than most.

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  15. GAJ says:

    I bet within two years we’ll hear that tuition at State Colleges need to be raised again and that funding for K-12 is still not enough.

    Prop 30 has let the status quo stand, for now, and needed reforms will be forgotten resulting in continued need for “more, more, more.”

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  16. Grapevines says:

    “Proposition 30″ should be carved in stone on every wall at the capital building in Sacramento. Prop 30 showed the worthless legislature that if you get Moonbeam II banging on his drum loud enough about not funding schools, people will pony up more dollars to bail out the financial mess that the worthless legislature got us into and does not want to address.

    And because this extra funding provided for by Prop 30 goes into the general fund, the worthless legislature can use it for more staffing pay raises or whatever “pie in the sky” idea they come up with. To say nothing about how Moonbeam II can now divert more money into his High-Speed Train to nowhere or “Water to Southern California” proposal.

    They will be too shy to start claiming “WOLF” next year but only for that one year. The following year, two years from now, the specter of school cuts will again rear it’s ugly head and start to be heard. The mumbling will become cries of anguish until we again ask ourselves, “Whatever happened to My Transylvania Twist?”

    And 7 years from now, when all this is supposed to go away, does anyone really believe it’s going to? When was the last time in recorded memory that we gave the worthless legislature something as a “loan,” and they gave it back?

    Get used to the higher tax rates California, they are never going away. And with the new “supermajority” it’s only going to get worse.

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  17. David Stubblebine says:

    @Jim: I am glad to see “denial” is alive and well in your world. I am also impressed with how freely you offer your belief as fact. As for “It is complete rubbish to claim that $250,000 of income is rich”; this is very revealing. I make about one-third that amount and I would have to describe my lifestyle as “comfortable.” If you believe 250K is less than wealthy, then perhaps you are one among the 1%, which would seem to fit your beliefs.

    @Robert: What 300K professors are you talking about? The CSU salary schedule for professors lists the absolute top end at about half that amount. Mitt Romney just found out how counterproductive it was to make up facts to fit what he wished was true. We would all do well to head that lesson.

    See: http://www.calstate.edu/HRAdm/SalarySchedule/SalaryGrid.aspx?S1=1&F1=professor&D1=0&Page=1&Recs=50

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  18. James Bennett says:


    The go button to push for more of our money.

    Ever notice it’s rarely a “temporary tax”?

    Again, we could have a state of PhDs for the amount the High Speed Rail will cost.

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  19. Robert says:

    Thank you, California, for passing Prop. 30. I was worried the $300K a year professors might have to take a pay cut. Thank you sooo much.

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  20. Jim says:

    The passage of Prop 30 will be another in a long line of complete fleecing of the taxpayers in CA. Jerry Brown lied to the sponge-headed voters by claiming the tax revenue would go to schools. The fact is that the money will go into the General Fund and be available for the thieves in Sacramento to do what they want with it.

    Also, the money “for schools” will actually go to pay for retired teachers and not the ones actually in the classroom. It is just amazing that every election the idiot voters are duped by lies about “police, fireman and teachers” being laid off because of a lack of money.

    The facts are that the state wasted BILLIONS of dollars on construction projects (the 55mph “bullet” train for example) that are merely a transfer of wealth from the citizens who earned it to union construction companies, overcharging for unnecessary projects that WILL NEVER be completed.

    Raising taxes on the “wealthy” will drive more out of the state. I know married police officers who fall into the “rich” category that Brown and the democrats are stealing from. It is complete rubbish to claim that $250,000 of income is “rich” or “wealthy” but the politicians, the ones with a massive SINGLE DIGIT approval rating, are able to con the dopes in CA to believe that more taxes will change anything.

    I’m glad that the Democrats have a super majority now. They’ll be able to raise taxes as much as they want. This state will collapse faster than it would have anyway. I’ve already purchased property outside this state. I’m already avoiding taxes on as much income as possible. I’ll be leaving this disaster to people who want handouts paid for by those who earned it.

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