The higher taxes are set to expire in July, but Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed extending them for five more years.
At a meeting this week, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said if voters don't extend the tax hike, students can expect to see an immediate jump in tuition.
"It's going to be radical. It's going to generate a lot of pain," Reed said. The chancellor said he would make formal recommendations in July on how to address the cuts, which he said would give the legislative process time to play out.
Republican lawmakers opposed to extending tax increases thwarted Brown's budget proposal earlier this year.
With a portion of a tuition increase funneled back into financial aid, the system's 23 campuses would still have to absorb another $100 million in cuts, Reed said. If the budget debate drags into the fall, Reed said the CSU may have to postpone making admissions decisions until they had a better idea how many students they could afford to enroll. ''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.