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Spring freeze

Spring freeze

(Oakland Tribune/MCT/Landov)

OAKLAND-California State University officials plan to freeze enrollment next spring on most of its campuses and wait-list applicants the following fall unless voters pass a proposed tax initiative in November.

The tax proposal, which has yet to qualify for the November ballot, raises the sales tax by a quarter cent for four years and increases personal income tax for those earning over $250,000 by up to 3 percentage points, expiring after seven years.

If the tax initiative fails, the 23-campus system will cut enrollment by as many as 16,000 students in the spring of 2013, and up to 25,000 more will be wait-listed in the 2013-14 academic year. Students this fall will be warned that admittance is contingent on the outcome of the tax measure.

But Tax Foundation's Joseph Henchman said more problems await the state's public colleges and universities if they plan to rely solely on taxpayer dollars to meet budget shortfalls.

"This can be an opportunity to restructure," said Henchman. He recommends charging higher tuition for degrees that lead to higher paying jobs, cutting professors' pay, and hiring consultants "who make their living identifying inefficiencies."

The byline for this article in the print edition was incorrect.