Resolution Number SAC09.25
WHEREAS, California's higher education system, once the gold standard for public universities and colleges, is now straining to maintain academic excellence and commitment to California’s students following years of diminishing financial resources resulting in decreased enrollment, increased student fees, fewer classes, and increased faculty layoffs; and recent budgetary decisions have jeopardized the enrollment of 10,000 students into the California State University system and 2,300 students into the University of California system; and the state can no longer continue to divest in higher education and continually allow for increased student fees, cuts to student services, and denial of access to California’s most qualified and eligible young people; and continuing cuts are predicted that will have California spending more money on prisons than on higher education in the next two years; and
WHEREAS, our community colleges, colleges and universities are vital to our economic engine and have traditionally provided the human infrastructure needed for innovation and creativity making us a global leader in technology, entertainment, health care and other industries; our recent problems have made California fall from 4th to 5th in the number of high school graduates who enter college; and while our commitment to higher education has lagged, concurrently, the need for a college-educated workforce continues to grow, now outpacing the state's ability to produce such a workforce, a gap projected to widen in the future as 41% of California workers will need a bachelor’s degree to meet economic demand by 2025; and
WHEREAS, California is the only oil-producing state in the union that does not levy a tax on the extraction of oil and natural gas; the state of Texas, which does levy this tax and dedicates the revenue to public higher education, has the largest non-private university fund in the country and has maintained stable funding for Texas public universities for more than a century; and this tax, if levied in California and dedicated to public higher education would provide over $1 billion annually for the CSU, UC and Community College System;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party believes the state should levy an extraction tax on oil and natural gas to directly fund all three segments of public higher education in California and provide educational opportunities to qualified students; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent to all Democratic state legislators asking them to urgently work toward these goals.
Submitted by Assemblymember Alberto Torrico; Assemblymember Fiona Ma; Charu Khopkar;
Nick Hardeman; Catalina Hayes-Bautista; Michael Swords; (Partial List)
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Adopted by the Democratic State Central Committee of California
AKA "California Democratic Party"
At its Annual State Convention
Sacramento Convention Center
April 26, 2009