GET THE FACTS:
How does Prop 38 help higher education
and address the “trigger” cuts?
More and more people are learning about Prop 38 and the long-term vision it offers for California’s
students, families and communities. Prop 38 is smart public policy. It guarantees an average of $10
billion per year for 12 years in new funding for local public schools, and it guarantees funding for more
Prop 38 also pays down state debt to reduce the budget deficit and can help prevent cuts to higher
education and other programs we all care deeply about. Here’s how it works:
First, neither Prop 38 nor Prop 30 allocates funding directly to the UC or CSU systems.
While Prop 30 designates 11% of its education dollars to community colleges, the
legislature decides how much of those funds will be used to replace current community
The “trigger” cuts to UC, CSU and Community Colleges that we’ve heard about are not
included in the language of either initiative. They were put in place in the state budget that
the legislature adopted in June before the election. The legislature only adopted a scenario
for making cuts if Prop 30 fails; the Legislature did not adopt a similar plan for when Prop
Prop 38 makes available billions in new revenues to mitigate those cuts.
o Prop 38 sets aside money in each of the first 4 ½ years for debt repayment. This
frees up $3 billion per year that can help out higher education and the rest of the
o In the first 18 months, Prop 38 frees up more than $4.7 billion – enough to cover the
total proposed cuts to higher education.
o As State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has said, the Legislature
could go back and revise the budget it adopted in June based on the new revenues
available in Prop 38. If recent history is an indicator, the legislature has experience at
doing just that, especially if it will help prevent those cuts.
Prop 38 raises an average of $10 billion per year through 2018‐19, compared to about $6
billion under Prop 30. This enables Prop 38 to provide considerably more revenues to
schools and early childhood programs, and a comparable amount to higher education and
other state budget programs. There’s simply more revenue available under Prop 38.
Finally, we should not forget the impact of Prop 38’s investment in K‐12 education and
preschool, which means more students will be better prepared to enter college and