Tuition to increase by $2,400 should Prop. 30 fail, Student Regent says

Student Regent Jonathan Stein and Student Regent-designate Cinthia Flores stopped by the UC Davis campus on Friday to speak about Proposition 30, a sales and income tax increase initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Prop. 30 would increase taxes on individuals with earnings over $250,000 for seven years and would implement a quarter-cent increase in sales tax for four years. Should the proposition pass, UC will receive money from the state legislature that would negate a fee increase for this year. If Prop. 30 fails, the university will not receive that money and students will see a $250 million cut.

The failure of Prop. 30 will have an immediate impact on UC students, according to Jonathan Stein, Student Regent and UC Berkeley law and public policy student.

“The administration has said that if they need to find $375 million, they will need a 20 percent fee increase by January; that is roughly an additional $2,400 for every UC student by the end of January 2013,” Stein said.

Many No on 30 proponents say that the proposition is ruse by California legislators to receive more tax dollars.

“If Prop. 30 passes, we could have the worst business climate in the nation…Education should be a critical priority for California’s legislators, but Prop. 30 does nothing to advance that laudable goal, or hold our legislators accountable for responsible allocation of limited resources,” an Oct. 28 article by the San Francisco Examiner states.

UC Davis was the final stop for Stein and Flores on their annual tour of the UC campuses.

As Student Regents, Stein and Flores work to relay information gathered at meetings with the Board of Regents to students so that they know exactly what is going on with their education system. They also want to spread information about increasing state disinvestment in the UC and present students’ qualms to the Board of Regents.

Through the speaking tour, they aimed to provide a forum where students are given the opportunity to ask questions and share their perspectives about the impacts of this proposition.

Stein said that if Prop. 30 fails, it will send a signal to state lawmakers that the California public is not concerned with higher education and that the system will continue to be defunded to the point that UC will be a private institution before the end of the decade.

“We were once a state that believed in making public investments. If Prop. 30 fails it’s a sign that the California I envision is not the California that exists,” Stein said.

Flores explained that as student representatives on the Board of Regents, they gather information on specific campuses from  administrative and student leadership so that they are best informed on the problems facing specific UC campuses when they meet with other regents.

“When these propositions are presented … we speak on those props with a holistic understanding on how it will impact the system and how it will individually impact campuses,” Flores said.

Both Stein and Flores said the proposition’s failure would not decrease enrollment, but the racial and socioeconomic makeup of the university could potentially change.

“Enrollment will not decrease; however, we will get a different kind of student body, that is more wealthier students and fewer middle-income students,” Stein said.

Additionally, the failure of this proposition would directly impact all families and their expenses.

“Personally, my sister is a high school senior and is currently applying to universities. She cannot afford anything but a state education and in a real way this proposition will impact her future and thereby the future of my family,”  Flores said.

Students are also rallying behind the proposition in support.

“The short-term implications of seeing this bill fail outweighs the adverse effects of the seven-year tax life of this bill,” said Jonathan Finau, a fouth-year political science major.

Stein and Flores met with Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi after the forum and discussed maintaining the excellence of the university without having to raise tuition annually.

According to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 48 percent of voters will likely support the measure, while 44 percent are opposed and 8 percent are undecided.

Prop. 30 will appear on the ballot in Tuesday’s election.

NATASHA QABAZARD can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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