Measure Heads to Full Senate
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez’s AB 1500, which closes a corporate tax loophole that exclusively benefits out of state corporations at the expense of California businesses and uses the money to fund a two-thirds reduction in student fees for middle class students at UC and CSU, was approved by two key Senate Committees today.
AB 1500 passed the Senate Governance & Finance Committee and was subsequently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which also approved AB 1501, the companion measure to AB 1500. Both bills form the “Middle Class Scholarship Act,” which is now pending approval by the full Senate. Both bills passed the Assembly with a bipartisan, two-thirds majority.
“I am very pleased that the Middle Class Scholarship Act has taken another crucial step towards becoming law,” said Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). “With today’s actions by the Senate, we are closer to ensuring fairness in our tax code for California businesses, and providing critical relief for middle class families trying to weather the crisis of affordability in higher education.”
Speaker Pérez introduced the Middle Class Scholarship Act in February of this year to reduce student fees by two-thirds for middle class students at UC and CSU, as well as provide $150 million in relief for community college students. AB 1501 creates the Middle Class Scholarship. The companion measure, AB 1500, generates $1 billion annually to fund the scholarship by closing a corporate tax giveaway that exclusively benefits out-of-state corporations at the expense of California businesses by giving them an unfair advantage in calculating their tax obligation to the state.
“At a time when our students are facing insurmountable amounts of debt coupled with rising fees and a poor job market, corporations outside of California are enjoying a sweet tax break that penalizes job creation and property ownership in California,” said Angélica Salceda, a UC Berkeley law student and representative for the University of California Students Association. “Not only should California be encouraging job creation and property ownership within our own state by eliminating this unnecessary tax loophole but we, as a state, should be prioritizing higher education as an investment for our future. “
Over the past decade, student fees have soared at the UC and CSU, forcing students to take on staggering levels of debt. The Middle Class Scholarship Act will save middle class students $8,200 at UC and $4,000 at CSU annually. Community Colleges will also receive $150 million to increase affordability for community college students.
“Higher fees make the dream of an undergraduate degree unreachable for many or saddle hundreds of thousands of students with unmanageable debt,” said Sarah Couch, a Sacramento State student representing the California State Student Association. “The Middle Class Scholarship Program means that the middles class students across California will be eligible to receive a scholarship that covers up to two-thirds of their system wide fees, which would dramatically change both the affordability and accessibility of the CSU, giving students more time to focus on their studies.”
“Not only does this legislation really address some of the serious cost concerns for students being able to attend our higher education systems, but it also begins to address rebuilding our workforce,” said Alameda College student and President of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges Rich Copenhagen. “Through the Middle Class Scholarship Act, we will both be providing California businesses with equal taxation and we are also building a stronger, better trained workforce, giving all of California a stronger foundation to be competitive in our economy.”
Both measures now go to the Senate Floor for consideration.
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
Below are links to audio of Speaker Pérez and students who spoke at today’s Senate Governance & Finance Committee hearing:
Opening remarks from Speaker Pérez at today’s Senate Committee hearing. (2:45)
CSU Student Association representative Sarah Couch says the skyrocketing cost of a higher education in California is financially strangling students. (:14)
UC Student Association representative Angélica Salceda says while students are being hit with rising fees and tuition, out of state corporations are getting a tax break. (:14)
California Community College Student Senate President Rich Copenhagen says AB 1500 will address many of the issues facing students and the state. (:29)
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 612-7795