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College Fee Hikes: a Tax on Students

March 20, 2004

Re "Students Protest Tuition Hikes at Capitol Rally," March 16: As the bottom of California's college hierarchy, community colleges always get the short end of the stick. The governor proposes to divert 7,400 University of California and Cal State admits into our already crowded system.

Perhaps the governor should join us during the first week of every semester as we pack into already congested classrooms with the high hopes that we will be added to the full class roster because it is a class we really, really need in order to transfer within two years. Like most students, he would get turned away, and that means having to readjust your life to accommodate the extra semester or year it will now take to finish required courses.

We all have a part in fixing our state budget, so why is the governor taxing only students? Why are prison guards getting an 11% raise come July, and why are Republicans so opposed to raising taxes on the rich for a few years? Come on, make this fair. Let's all share the burden.

Victor Castillo

South Los Angeles

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When will the governor and rabid anti-tax crusaders acknowledge that raising community college and UC fees is, in fact, raising our taxes? Higher fees amount to a regressive tax on education, which should be largely shielded from taxation. Meanwhile, in a time of severe fiscal crisis, the governor rolled back the vehicle license fee, which was essentially a much-needed tax on air pollution, global warming and traffic congestion.

Instead of these misguided tax policies, I propose the "High 5" solution: a five-year, 5% increase in taxes for the richest 5% of Californians.

Raphael Sagarin

Los Angeles

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As students marched on the Capitol to protest an increase in tuition fees, it reminded me of statements made by candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger when he addressed students and faculty at Cal State Long Beach during the recall, on Sept. 3. He stated, "My greatest supporters are young people like you." He added that "the children will always be No. 1." Later in that appearance he stated, "When it comes to higher education it is outrageous, it is outrageous that Sacramento increased the tuition by 40% in one year ... we must never let that happen again." Sadly, "read my lips" has now occurred in California.

Larry Gilbert

Mission Viejo

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I am an older person in my first semester of community college. I am just one person, but if more speak out, maybe the tide will turn. If those fee hikes go into effect, my college education goes down the toilet.

College is very important to me. I pray that Schwarzenegger will change his mind. Not just for my sake, but for many, many more-worthy college students. This is our future we're talking about.

Judith Hunt

Tustin

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