Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state budget this week that includes a $301 million cut – or 7.5% reduction – to the CSU. This budget cut will be restored if $14 billion in new federal COVID-19 funding is received by mid-October. The Governor had proposed a 10% budget reduction of $400 million in May to help counter a $54 billion state budget shortfall, but efforts by CSUEU and its members convinced legislators to restore nearly $100 million in state funding. The signed budget also includes language proposed by CSUEU that for the first time directs CSU to use its approximately $1.5 billion budget surplus to backfill any ongoing state budget cuts. The Legislature has now formally acknowledged that CSU unrestricted reserves can be used for “ongoing” expenditures – something the CSU Chancellor’s Office and campus presidents have fervently denied. As last year’s CSUEU-sponsored state audit concluded, during a period when the CSU claimed it needed more state funding, its financial reports were misleading the Legislature by hiding the total amount of surplus funds being held in outside accounts that were accrued from student tuition and salary savings. The highly critical state audit resulted in greater legislative oversight and budget transparency, but the CSU denied that the funds could be used to pay for CSU operations. The Legislature has now directed the CSU to use these unrestricted reserves to mitigate state budget cuts. In addtion, legislators have adopted a position that the nearly $1.5 billion CSU budget surplus can be used to pay for salaries, instruction and operations. As an SEIU affiliate, CSUEU is working to increase state revenue via changes to corporate tax laws and capping the maximum allowed for business losses. The state is also home to 165 billionaires – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg alone is worth $72 billion! The pandemic has worsened the rapidly growing inequality between the incomes of workers and the heads of corporations and institutions who financially benefit from their labor. Workers should not be harmed by budget cuts when employers and corporations have more than enough wealth to avoid this outcome. Labor and community organizations are mobilizing in the coming days to demand economic justice for all. Stay tuned!