Caleb Ellis / Images Editor
Caleb Ellis / Images Editor

Arguing if students should be held responsible for misled government spending and a tax system driven on loop holes is not a debate, it is a debacle.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB955 into law on Thursday, Oct. 10. The bill will allow six colleges, including LBCC, to offer Winter and Summer intersession classes at around $200 a unit as opposed to $46 a unit that in-state students currently pay.
The concern from legislators according to the higher education committee, experts estimate that California will need 3.5 million additional degrees in the next decade to meet the needs to sustain its economy. With $809 million in cuts from the California Community College budget in the last three years, students are being delayed from graduating, due to the drop in number of classes offered.
I agree with the concerns. Finding the classes required to graduate or transfer is difficult for most students, even with priority registration. I do not agree that privatizing a public institution like a school is the answer. According to the California Assembly, the new program shall be self-supporting and shall not be reported for state apportionment funding.
Students will either pay the estimated $200 per unit or will be left behind. While some will claim that low-income students will still have financial aid to rely on, the new bill advocates that supplemental financial assistance be covered by funds from campus foundations or other non-state funds. If you were a student at LBCC last Spring, I’m sure you will remember the cuts to our trades programs and teachers losing their jobs due to a lack in funds to begin with. So how could the school realistically cover the cost of financial aid during the intersessions?
The problem is legislators are dealing with the symptoms of budget cuts and not the core cause. California’s corporate tax is 8.84 percent. In the same three years that the education budget has been slashed by $809 million, companies like Wells Fargo Bank with $49.7 billion in profit, paid 0.7 percent in state taxes.
If the loopholes that allow Wells Fargo to forgo taxes were eliminated, that would bring in an additional $4 billion in tax revenue.
Facebook received a tax refund of $429 million after a profit of $1.1 billion for the year 2012, a refund that was money straight out of the taxpayer’s pockets and into the offshore bank accounts of large corporations.
We don’t have a money problem in California, we have a spending problem. Do we spend the money educating the workforce, or line the pockets of the owners?
We have to repeal AB 955 if we are ever to put the needs of the people of California, including its students, before the desires of a faceless corporation. To agree with AB 955 is to agree that the student and worker are nothing more than kindling for an economic fire only keeping the elite warm.