It is safe to assume that the honeymoon between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state of California is officially over.
On Jan. 9 the governor released his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which includes $372 million in cuts for the UC. The thought of increasing tuition and cuts in financial aid support leave many students crying out: Again?
Unfortunately, we had it coming to us, and we knew it all along.
In a speech given on Sept. 14, 2003, Schwarzenegger said, ‘I am in principle against taxing, because I feel that the people of California have been punished enough.’
To dig our state out of a multi-billion dollar deficit, there is a dilemma. There are only two strategies that our state can adopt to remedy the situation: Increase taxes or cut spending. The governor chose the latter.
We can spend time and discuss why we as college students, should not bear the burden of these budget cuts, but that would only be meaningless.
While our tuition will rise, we are still paying significantly less than students of other institutions which have UCI’s caliber of research.
Schwarzenegger has promised to not cut spending from K-12 and that’s great news. For the state that has the third highest student teacher ratio and ranks 35th in the nation in spending per child, the last thing we need is to cut from secondary education.
And so, as citizens of this state, we students must share the burden that the rest of California has to endure.
Well, that is if the proposed budget cuts are justified. Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger is not justified in making his proposed budget cuts. Being a fiscally conservative politician has blinded him from an obvious solution that could help solve the budget crisis: Raising taxes.
Property taxes could generate extra revenue for the state. Proposition 13 capped property taxes at 1 percent of the assessed value at the time of purchase. That means, hypothetically speaking, a family who bought a home for $80,000 in 1976 still only pays $800 dollars in property taxes, while their property could be worth 10 times as much today.
Property taxes could be capped at 1.25 or 1.5 percent of the assessed value at the time of purchase, or all properties could be reassessed every five years and still be taxed at 1 percent.
In addition, income tax brackets should be rearranged so that people who earn more money pay a progressively higher tax that truly reflects their ability and responsibility to contribute to society.
These taxes would place more of the financial burden on people who can afford to absorb the losses. The elderly with meager retirement funds, single mothers scraping by on welfare, and college students with accumulating loans should not have to be the ones to save the state. There is no justification in doing so.
The real dilemma facing the governor was deciding who had been punished enough. By choosing to make budget cuts, the governor sends a message that the rich have been punished enough, so now the poor and middle classes will be punished and suffer the most under his new budget plan. We students will feel the direct effects once our ZOTBills come in the mail this fall.
Sadly, we knew it all along.
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