More cuts coming if tax revenue estimates fall short

November 16, 2011 12:42:24 AM PST
Budget cuts and tuition hikes are at the center of a debate going on in Sacramento. Wednesday, the state's legislative analyst will release tax revenue estimates; those numbers will help determine whether more budget cuts are needed.

California State University students all over the state expressed their frustration over a possible $500 tuition hike next fall, if the Legislature and governor fail to give the school system more money. But looming around the corner is a possible $100 million cut to CSU in a few short weeks. That's on top of this year's $650 million cut.

"We're already taking so many hits; another big hit, I'm pretty sure a lot of students that want to attend school here won't," CSU student Jay Narayan said.

CSU is one of many line items in the state budget slated for mid-year cuts that's triggered automatically if the state fails to collect $4 billion above forecast.

The latest Department of Finance figures show California is $1.3 billion below forecast for the first four months of the fiscal year. Just last week, the state controller also said tax revenues were down $1.5 billion.

Investment Managing Director Joe Eschleman doesn't believe the economy is strong enough to be $4 billion above forecast by June.

"We don't have as much momentum as it would take to generate the type of tax revenues needed to avoid these triggers," Eschleman said.

One game changer could be the holiday season -- more people could be working and shoppers may open up their wallets a little more to boost the income and tax revenues for the state. And the Brown administration says much of the income taxes come in December thru June.

"Personal income tax is always the biggest revenue source for the state, and that's the one we've been watching the closest," California Department of Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer said.

But people on the trigger cuts list aren't as optimistic. CSU has already cut back to take the $100 million hit.

"Put off some deferred maintenance for projects around the campus, cut way back on travel and also implemented some energy efficiencies to save money there as well," CSU spokesperson Kim Nava said.

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