Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown announced his “May Revise” for the budget. The proponents of the California Modernization and Economic Development Act – a proposed oil extraction tax for the 2014 ballot – offered the following statement in response to his press conference:
“Though we are pleased with the potential funds for K-12 schools and community colleges, the surplus in Governor Brown’s revise of the budget, like the passage of Proposition 30 last November, is only one step in the process of providing adequate funding for K-12 and higher education. An oil extraction tax is absolutely necessary to continue this trend and promote job growth in California.
“UC and CSU enrollment rates have dropped 20% because of recent tuition hikes. This can not continue. By the year 2020 as a result of decreased access to education, the Public Policy Institute of California predicts our state will not be capable of meeting economic demand for highly educated workers. This will only make it more difficult for businesses to find qualified employees, and will perpetuate high unemployment and wage stagnation in California.
“We have great respect for the Governor and especially for his work passing Proposition 30, which was a big step forward for California’s students and our economy. However, we could not disagree more about the urgent need to pass an oil extraction tax in our state and provide critical funding for schools, colleges and universities. Prop 30 should not be an excuse to continue giving away oil and gas that’s extracted from California and sold around the world – especially when making college more accessible has never been so important. Inadequate funding for higher education in California is still a very real problem with long term economic consequences, and a tax on extraction in California would be unnoticeable to commuters and taxpayers: it would only require oil companies to pay their fair share.
“Sacramento can practice real fiscal responsibility by using revenue from energy that belongs to California to boost our economy and create jobs at a time when 9.8% of Californians can’t find work – and subsequently, don’t pay taxes. That’s why CMED uses a consumer-friendly oil tax to make crucial investments in higher education, cities and towns and support for small businesses to switch to less-costly, cleaner forms of energy.”
More information and updates from the campaign can be found at http://www.cmedact.org