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Anti-tax group says Cal State letter is illegal

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POSTED September 17, 2012 12:39 a.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A letter being sent to California State University applicants that details the effect on university finances if an upcoming ballot measure fails is illegal, an anti-tax group said.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association charges that the letter, which warns that enrollment capacity will drop if Proposition 30 fails, amounts to using government resources for a political campaign.

Jon Coupal, president of the association, sent a letter Friday to the university, stating that the letter crosses the line of legality.

CSU spokeswoman Claudia Keith denied that the letter, which is to be sent to applicants Oct. 1, is political.

“We wanted to give students and parents some sense of context as to why we are (holding) applications until the end of November,” Keith told the Times. “We are not advocating one way or the other. We are just laying out the facts of what the budget is and what impact this will have on our budget.”

Proposition 30 asks voters to approve increases in income taxes for the wealthy and the sales tax to raise revenue for public education. If it fails, Cal State and the University of California face $250 million each in cuts in January.

CSU is delaying admissions notifications until the end of November because the university may have to reduce enrollment if the measure fails.

The proposed letter to applicants contains links to both the Yes and No campaigns. CSU notes that trustees have endorsed the measure and says if the measure passes, the university will be less likely subject to further cuts.

One of the CSU’s trustees, Steven Glazer, is a chief political aide to Gov. Jerry Brown and played a key role in coming up with the tax plan.

Glazer told the Times that the trustees were not involved in the decision to send the letters.

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