LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Vote yes on Prop 13 and make Sac State safer


Noah Marty

This is a letter to the editor from Noah Marty, a Sacramento State political science major and vice president of university affairs for Sac State’s Associated Students, Inc. This letter is written in support of Proposition 13.

When it comes to the programs on campus, the pay for our professors, the repairs and construction of buildings, and the overall funding of our universities, the simple truth is we are reliant on one key source of funding more than any other.

This source is the state’s annual budget, and whether you’re aware of it or not, this piece of legislation impacts every corner of Sac State.

The budgeting process is a rigorous back and forth between the CSU telling the state how much funding it needs, the governor telling them how much they will get, the state legislature passing the budget with the edits they see fit, and the governor having the final say on the budget at the end of the process.

Unfortunately, the CSU is competing with every other part of the state government for the same funds, so it is almost always is given far less than it needs.

Faculty and administration need to be paid, student services need to be facilitated, and the lights and water need to stay on. So where the budget shortfalls often show the most is in our facilities. Maintenance to our classrooms becomes deferred, and upgrades to facilities get delayed year after year.

This issue is not unique to our CSU campuses either – in the CSU system more than half of our buildings are 40 years old, while over half of the UC system facilities are over 30 years old.

In the CSU system alone, we have $3.6 billion in deferred maintenance and $1.2 billion in seismic projects that are needed. These totals grow by an estimated $290 million each year, and with our funding needs regularly not being met by the state, our facilities’ funding hole gets deeper and deeper each year.

Proposition 13 will help start to dig us out.

That’s why I am joining the bipartisan California Coalition for Public Higher Education, teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, and military veterans in supporting the only statewide school improvement bond on the March 3 ballot, Prop. 13.

Proposition 13 is a bond measure that will create $15 billion in funding via general obligation bonds for our states K-12 schools, California Community Colleges, CSUs, and UCs.

This funding would be distributed between the various sectors mentioned and would grant $2 billion to our CSU system to implement needed earthquake and fire safety projects. It would also fund modernizing the campus’ existing buildings and the construction of new ones to support the ever-changing needs of our state workforce.

This would allow our buildings to keep pace with the technology that is needed to properly train the future workers that our universities produce for the state. It has been shown time and time again that the investments made in our higher education system have some of the best long-term returns of any money that the state can spend, and Proposition 13 gives voters a chance to show that they support properly funding our higher education system.

The bond measure also includes strong taxpayer accountability measures that strictly limit administrative costs and mandate independent performance audits of any project it funds. Public hearings will be conducted to ensure public input, and campuses that receive the funds will be required to develop five-year plans to create more affordable student housing.

As a member of student government for three years now, I’ve been through two full cycles of the budgeting process and am entering into my third. I’ve been at the forefront of each effort to secure as much funding as possible, and I know how difficult it is to even reach the baseline level of funding that we need to simply maintain the status quo.

California voters now have an opportunity to give our system, and every other public education institution in this great state, a lifeline to support student safety and the modernization of our campuses.

Please help us get this vital bond measure approved today. Get registered, grab your ballot, go to the polls, and vote YES on Proposition 13 next Tuesday. Join me and millions of concerned Californians in voting to ensure the future of our state’s students.

Noah Marty