California remains in the midst of an enduring state fiscal crisis, and the ability of the state to adequately fund higher education and other public programs has diminished greatly. The California State University is in its fifth year of fiscal crisis, with annual state support down by more than $900 million from the peak level of 2007/08 and the university facing the possibility of a $250 million mid-year "trigger cut" if Proposition 30 is not approved by the voters in the November election. If the trigger cut occurs, state support of the CSU will have fallen by almost 40 percent.
On the other hand, the enactment of Proposition 30 not only avoids the trigger cut, but opens up the possibility of the state beginning to reinvest in higher education. California's economic recovery and its economic and social future depend on this reinvestment in its people to commence as soon as possible. This support budget request for 2013/14 is an important statement by the CSU Board of Trustees of what the university needs to fulfill its mission to the people of California, even during a time of fiscal challenge. The CSU graduated 96,360 students in 2011/12, addressing workforce needs in critical sectors such as agriculture, engineering, technology, business, nursing and computer science.There is a pressing demand for student access to the CSU, including a great need to accommodate growing numbers of community college transfers. All of this—access to education and the preparation of the state's future workforce—depends on the state reinvesting in this great "university of the people." This budget request is the next necessary step in this process of reinvestment.