The Associated Students Legislative Council annual audit revealed that A.S. assets have almost tripled over the past three years.
The audit, which was conducted by Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., detailed the current A.S. assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses and cash flows. The council also briefly discussed the proposed administrative tax on non-state funded on-campus entities and funding for the Ultimate College Bowl concert at yesterday’s meeting.
Auditor Mark Jackson said the increase in funds is due to the money that continues to generate from the Students’ Initiative. The initiative – passed two years ago – increased student fees quarterly by $100 per student.
“The reason for the increase is still the Students’ Initiative,” Jackson said. “We found out it passed this time last year. It wasn’t going to be in effect until winter. We are now seeing the whole effect.”
According to the audit, A.S. revenues increased substantially from $8,156,929 for the 2006-07 fiscal year to $10,660,703 for the 2007-08 fiscal year. Expenses rose by almost the same amount last term, from $7,387,168 in 2007 to $9,617,999 in 2008. Lastly, liabilities and net assets grew from $2,147,795 to $3,201,275 during the same time span.
Prior to the Students’ Initiative – in the 2005-06 fiscal year – A.S. had $4,701,927 in total revenues.
Additionally, auditor Jeff Harris shed light on the restrictions A.S. has as a nonprofit entity.
“When you’re a nonprofit, you can’t campaign for any individual candidate at all,” Harris said. “If so, you can lose your nonprofit status. If you have a debate, that’s fine, but you can’t promote one person. … You’re allowed to do lobbying, but it can’t be ‘substantial.'”
A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez said spending money in support of a proposition could also jeopardize their status as a nonprofit organization.
“It’s a two-pronged threshold on propositions and candidates,” Marquez said. “You can take a position but can’t expand dollars.”
The council also sought advice on creating more A.S. businesses with the goal of generating revenue to use for student services.
Harris said multiple factors were involved. The businesses would be taxed if they compete with any other industry in the area and if the income does not benefit the student body.
According to Marquez, the business’ situation is also crucial.
“We are allowed to succeed, but not thrive,” Marquez said. “What is it that students need? Context is important.”
In addition, the council discussed the proposed administrative tax on non-state funded on-campus entities such as the Student Resource Building, Daily Nexus and Housing & Residential Services. The university currently imposes a 1 percent tax – which generates about $950,000 every year – on these organizations.
A.S. President J.P. Primeau said, the $9 million budget cut that was originally anticipated is now confirmed to be $12 million, with an 80 percent chance of jumping to $16 million.
“The campus is in dire budget situation,” Primeau said. “There is going to be a 2.36 percent tax on the 1 percent we already pay. I would expect to see the campus raise that amount with every additional year of budget cuts. We have to get mad at this issue. We need to pursue all avenues.”
Lastly, the council voted to use $2,000 from the A.S. Special Project Fund to help pay for the “free” Death Cab for Cutie concert awarded to UCSB as the winners of the Ultimate College Bowl Contest. A.S. Finance Board, External Vice President of Local Affairs Zekee Silos, External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Corey Huber and the Office of Student Life have all contributed to the concert, raising $37,500 in total.
Huber said A.S. Program Board needs to raise the remainder of the money soon or they will pass on the concert to UC Berkeley or UCLA. According to Huber, Berkeley also cannot afford to fund the concert.
“All the UCs are in the same financial position,” Huber said.