Thursday, May 15, 2014

SB 1017: The Next Step for Public Education

Remember Prop 30?  The proposition we all got behind to get needed funding for Public Education, including Adult Education?

Signal Hill, Long Beach, California 1920s
Well, here's the next step, SB 1017.  It's a tax on oil and gas extraction.  That means, when a company takes oil or gas out of California soil, they have to pay California some money - just like they have to do in Texas and Alaska.  They have to pay a lot of money when they take oil out of the ground in Texas and Alaska and 19 other oil-producing states but they don't have to pay anything here. No, here in California, they can pull money oil out of the ground, sell it to you, make a profit on it, but not pay a cent in taxes for the right to extract one of California's greatest natural resources.

The money would go for higher education, and health and human services.  Higher Education includes the Community College system which is involved in Adult Education through the new Regional Consortia system.

And remember what I said about lobbyists in the post about the May Revise and the budget?

"A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause reveals that Big Oil spent $123.6 million to lobby elected officials in California over the past 15 years, an increase of over 400 percent since the 1999-2000 legislative session, when the industry spent $4.8 million."  You can read more about that here.

Then you can read the following action alert from CFT - California Federation of Teachers.

(Note:  San Mateo Adult School Teachers, including myself, and many other Adult Ed teachers belong to CFT.)

May 15, 2014

We have an opportunity to continue the work of Proposition 30 in restoring public education programs and making the tax code of California fairer to working people and the middle class.  That opportunity is called the “Oil Extraction Tax” (click here to read all about the bill). I’m asking you to help.
As you know, Proposition 30 passed in 2012, thanks to your vote and hard work.  That’s why this year, for the first time since the beginning of the Great Recession, there were no state cuts to education, and only a handful of layoff notices, and we have begun to restore programs decimated over the years.  But we still have a long way to go before we have the tools to give California families the education system it deserves and needs.
California is the only state out of twenty one oil-producing states that has no oil extraction tax.  Even Alaska and Texas tax the oil corporations for the privilege of drilling for this resource.  If California had a similar tax, it would bring our state budget close to two billion dollars, from an industry making enormous profits and that can and should easily pay their fair share.  
This year State Senator Noreen Evans is carrying SB 1017, the Oil Extraction Tax.  [Click here to see Evans speaking at a rally for the tax.] Similar bills have been proposed for years, but they have been killed by oil industry lobbying.  SB 1017 has gotten farther this year than previous efforts.  This is because legislators and the public have been recognizing schools need more revenues, and learning about the existence of this corporate tax loophole while revenues for our schools and services lag behind the needs of the state.
Here’s how you can help.  Click here to send an email to Senator Kevin DeLeon, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to support SB 1017, the Oil Extraction Tax.  The tax would fund higher education as well as health and human service programs.
I am aware of the challenge we face to pass this bill.  The oil lobby is one of the most powerful in the state. But the pundits said California would never pass a statewide tax measure—and then we passed Prop 30.  The Oil Extraction Tax is within our reach as well.  It is the right thing for our students, and the right thing for our state.

In solidarity,
Joshua Pechthalt, President
California Federation of Teachers

George Eagleton and other roughnecks at work drilling oil in California in the 1920s.
How about it, Grandpa, have the bosses broke even yet?
Have they cleared enough profit that they can give back to the people of California
some of what they took from its soil?

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