With the state of California now in a 16 billion dollar deficit, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed an increase in sales and income tax which he believes will help reduce budget cuts to public safety programs, and at schools like including College of the Canyons. However, what many people are wondering is whether or not the tax increase will be the correct solution to the state’s debt problem.
Jasmine S. Ruys, COC’s Admission and Records Director agrees with Jerry Brown’s tax increase proposal.
“As a Californian, I definitely want to redirect my money toward education,” said Ruys. “I’ve seen what we have been able to accomplish here (at COC) for our students, and what our students have been able to accomplish getting out into the workforce. It’s definitely worth it to me.”
“Built into the (state) budget are what’s known as trigger cuts (which) are automatic budget cuts that go into effect if the tax measure doesn’t pass,” said Eric Harnish, who is the special assistant to the Chancellor here at COC. “For community colleges, it’s about a $300 million dollar potential cut.”
California college students have been protesting potential budget cuts and tuition hikes all year long. There was even an infamous incident in April where about 30 Santa Monica College students were pepper sprayed by police after trying to storm into a trustees board meeting.
But are protests the best way for students to get their voices heard, or are there better ways to make a difference?
“Writing to their legislatures is imperative,” said Jasmine Ruys. “A lot of people think that it doesn’t do anything, but it does. The Legislatures do listen to the constituents, and if they don’t hear anything, then they don’t think that it’s a problem.”
Although tuition is rising for California community colleges and more potential budget cuts could be on the horizon, community college tuition rates remain the lowest here of any state in the country.