Update: AB 656 Oil / Gas Tax - Oct. 29, 2009October 29, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to you about AB 656 (Torrico), which would establish an oil and gas severance tax in California and dedicate the revenues to higher education. Specifically, I cautioned community college advocates that were being encouraged to attend events from doing so until the formula in the bill more accurately addressed the fact that community colleges serve 74% of California's higher education students. The bill, as currently drafted, would provide 10% of the funding to community colleges, and community colleges would get one member of an oversight board compared to four from UC and CSU.
I have had the opportunity to speak with both the author's office and the sponsor, the California Faculty Association, and we are working together to ensure that the bill distributes a money in an equitable manner among higher education segments, while also recognizing the deep cuts anticipated at CSU and UC next year due to the loss of $600 million to each segment in federal funds.
I know that some of you think that the oil and gas severance tax is not the appropriate revenue source and we each have a different view of how higher education dollars should be divvied up. However, we successfully pointed out that community colleges are taking the largest per-student cut and stand to lose a disproportionate share of students through this budget crisis. The author and sponsor would like to work constructively together on the bill to address these issues.
We appreciate the willingness of both Assemblymember Torrico and the California Faculty Association to listen to our concerns and desire to work together to talk about the need for additional state revenues to halt unacceptable and devastating cuts to higher education.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento, California 95811
916.444.8641 . www.ccleague.org