If Proposition 30 does not pass in this fall’s election, UC students could face a 20 percent increase in the middle of this year.
Proposition 30, proposed by California Governor Jerry Brown, conventionally known as the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, promises to raise between $6.8 billion, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and $9 billion, according to the Department of Finance, in revenue in 2012-2013.
Proposition 30, which the University of California Board of Regents recently voted to endorse, would raise sales and use tax by a quarter cent for four years. By creating three additional tax brackets, the measure will, if enacted, increase personal income tax rates on income above $250,000 for seven years, according to the Proposition 30 fact sheet.
An estimate of approximately $5.4 billion to $7.6 billion is assumed between 2013-2018. Should voters choose not to pass the initiative, the University of California System will be charged with a $250 million “trigger” cut, which could lead to an approximate 20 percent fee increase at the UCs.
Proposition 30 proponent and University of California Student Association (UCSA) Communications and Organizing Director Darius Kemp addressed what will happen to UC students if the measure fails to pass.
“An immediate and noticeable impact for all UC students, if Prop 30 passes: students will not see any fee increases this year. The approval of Prop 30 establishes a ‘status quo’; fees and tuition for this year will stay the same. We will be facing close to 20 percent or more in fee hikes if the measure does not pass. Consequences if it does not pass are more immediate,” Kemp said.
Proposition 30’s supporters maintain their position as protectors of the public school system, emphasizing the direct negative impact on schools if the measure fails to pass.
“If Proposition 30 fails to pass in November, the University of California budget will be reduced by another $250 million and the $125.4 million tuition buyout for 2013-14 will be lost, for a total budget gap of $375.4 million,” said University of California Office of the President (UCOP) spokesperson Brooke Converse. “This would be a catastrophe for UC. The University would be forced to consider a number of painful cost-cutting measures, including raising tuition, closing some academic programs, hiring freezes and layoffs.”
The Regents of the University of California have voted to support the proposition, attempting to avoid mid-year tuition increases.
“The state of California has responded to the budget crisis by cutting programs and services. Proposition 30 will stem the tide and begin the refunding process. A majority of California residents will not be affected by the tax increases,” Kemp said.
Proposition 30 has been met with a slew of mixed reviews from UC students in particular.
“Prop. 30 will prove to be a step forward for the UC System, and will prevent tuition hikes. In addition, a quarter-cent increase in sales tax is a minute result of Prop 30’s passage,” said sophomore Kacie Powell.
Opposition to Governor Brown’s proposition is primarily concerned with the fact that the measure fails to specify how the revenue, as a result of the passage of Proposition 30 will be allocated.
Proposition 30 does not directly state that the UC System will be receiving the bulk of the proposed revenue; rather, the measure specifies in its that the added revenue will help the state address its ongoing structural deficit. This could impact the UC system if some of those revenues are redirected toward higher education programs.
Sophomore student and pre-managerial economics major Kamron Afshar stresses the lack of clarity presented in the proposed measure.
“I would support the bill, but the problem is that it is not addressing the issue it is marketed to fix. The bill does not force the UCs to do anything in particular with the money, and it is my belief that they will continue to bleed the youth of California dry at the drop of a dime,”Afshar said. “I simply cannot support an increase in taxes unless it is extremely clear where this money is going, how it is going to be used and on a number-by-number basis [on] how it will affect tuition fees.”
Proposition 30’s impact lies heavily on its failure to pass, which includes a $125.4 million tuition increase buyout, for a total of $375.4 million in deficits.
Some opponents of Proposition 30 are concerned that the Governor’s measure does not provide new funding for schools, according to the California School Boards Association.
“The UCs are largely tuition-based schools — which they admitted in 2004, these ‘huge cuts’ have had little to no effect on them at all. Their budget is upwards of $19 billion and they have made a point to use tuition to cover their losses, many of which are caused by their own personal investment decisions, which greatly outweigh the budget cuts,” Afshar said.
The UCSA maintains its position in support of Prop 30. UCSA President Claudia Magaña stresses the immediate consequences that will result from its failure.
“The consequences for students and their families if this initiative fails are terrifying,” Magaña said in a July 18 press release.
The stakes could not be higher, and all of the constituencies in the UC must stand together in asking the people of California to step up and vote to support us.”
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