Tax oil to fund education

By Isaac Tovar

Proposition 1481 would place a 15 percent tax on crude oil extraction from California, on-shore and off-shore drilling sites, to fund education, from K through college.

This will approximately produce $3 billion annually. If you have been anywhere near student activities lately you might have been asked to sign a petition for this Proposition to be put in the California ballot. $1.5 billion of that goes to community colleges, such as East Los Angeles College.

Proposition 1481 doesn’t specify the exact distribution of the money, only that it goes to the California education fund. Which means it could either lower tuition, or get rid of it altogether. This is left up to California’s Board of Education.

Anita Mangles, a representative of Californians Against Higher Taxes, stressed this point. Mangles took the stage with Peter Mathews, professor of political science at Cypress College, in a debate held last Thursday at ELAC. Mathews has been at the forefront of this initiative, campaigning and debating nonstop to, as this movement has been dubbed, rescue California’s education.

Mangles had some good points in her opposition such as why target big oil when they already pay the highest property taxes in the U.S. More than 10,000 jobs in oil companies may be affected as a result. This was estimated when a similar tax was trying to get passed, but this was at 9.9 percent, so the numbers could actually be higher.

For the most part the arguments she had seemed like scare tactics; raise taxes and we will leave California, fire 10,000 workers, and the economy will suffer. As students we have seen first hand how lack of funds has affected our education. Many departments have seen cutbacks, some as high as a 55 percent loss of funds.

That means less supplies, less classes, overcrowded classrooms, higher tuition and even teachers losing jobs. Many of us have walked past the petitioners ignoring them, hoping not to be bothered. But in this case, if you hear Prop 1481, take a second look at it.

It might not be the perfect solution but $3 billion seems like a good start.

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