SACRAMENTO — The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. filed a lawsuit Thursday against a California State University campus, accusing the institution of illegally using taxpayer resources to promote Gov. Jerry Brown's push for a ballot measure that would raise taxes.
The lawsuit comes amid a running dispute between anti-tax activists and the Cal State system over how far university officials can go in encouraging students to vote for Proposition 30. Brown has said that if the measure fails, the two public university systems will have their funds cut by $250 million each.
The complaint, filed in Monterey County Superior Court, accuses the head of the Cal State Monterey Bay humanities department of sending an email to students that urges them to "work together to pass Prop. 30." The email, according to the plaintiffs, also noted that students could get a tuition refund of nearly $500 if the measure is approved.
The email, the lawsuit says, was sent from a university email address and signed by the department director.
"This campaign mailing violates the constitutional rights of taxpayers and students whose tax dollars and student fees are being misused to promote a political cause which they do not support," Jon Coupal, president of the taxpayer group, said in a statement. "This is one more example of those inside government who are taking advantage of their taxpayer-funded positions to force their political beliefs upon students."