So here are a few observations: You can download a spreadsheet of the CSU budget and for campus after campus you see academic salaries comprise less than 50% of the budget, and salaries are 85% of costs.
CSU Budget spreadsheet: http://www.calstate.edu/budget/final-budget-summaries/
You can look up a professor's salary and it is only a tiny bit more than the average public school teacher, (looking at the avg with 15 years experience). All that work to get a Ph. D. and you make little more than a 3rd grade teacher. Yet senior administrators make around $300,000 or more.
Voters can look at cops and senior city and county officials retiring on over $200K/year at 55 and wonder "if the govt can afford that with their tax dollars why can't they afford to pay for more professors?" (CalPERS took in $7 Billion from state and local govts last year to make up for their inability to make their 7.5% earnings). Hence a reluctance to vote for new taxes because the people who you want to get it aren't going to - it will go to those with the richest unions, not for whom you intend it.
In other words, tuition at CSU and UC's could be COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY FREE!, even with the bloated administration if the state didn't have to pay so much for retirement benefits that aren't sustainable from employer-employee contributions.
UC http://budget.universityofcalifornia.edu/files/2011/11/2012-13_budget.pdf (page 7)
Employees should have a retirement benefit that is self-sustaining and provides a reasonable retirement. That is why I support Gov. Brown's proposal for a hybrid plan that would provide 60% of salary at a reasonable retirement age. No one "needs" to retire at 55 with 90% or more of grossly inflated salaries.
- Michael Goldman