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Steve Lunetta: Education shouldn’t be so taxing

Right About Now

Posted: August 13, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2012 2:00 a.m.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my youngest kid is going to college. We finished putting the oldest through UCLA last year and now his little brother is going to burn up more of our hard-earned cash at UC Santa Barbara.

I got the final financial aid package a few days ago and was pleased to learn that I have to cough up $32,000 per year for UC Party. 32 G’s. That’s 32 large. Or a fully equipped, brand-new, Camry LE every year for four years.

And I’m still driving around the ’99 dark green Honda. Don’t laugh — I get 35 mpg. Stick that in your SUV and smoke it.

When I was in school at UC Riverside in the 1980s, I paid $6,000 per year for everything — dorm room, books, tuition, skiing trips, Naugles runs, movies, the works. That 6 grand does not even buy lodging for a whole year. Caleb’s dorm bill is $12,000.

I was in the COC bookstore today turning in some books for my other college student and watched a kid buy two soft-back text/work books for $325.00. How can kids afford this? This is completely unreasonable. A state education should not rival the cost of a private education.

Folks, there is only one explanation for this mess: gross mismanagement of the state of California by the Democratic Party.

What makes things worse is that now our own Gov. Jerry Brown wants us to vote to raise our taxes. He is asking us to do this in a time of economic recession. So, we are supposed to give more money to a state government that has already ruined the affordability of our beloved UC system.

Brown’s Prop. 30 will be on the state ballot for the Nov. 6 general election. Euphemistically called the “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding,” the proposition is an attempt to wring more money out of over-burdened California taxpayers.

In summary, Prop 30 will increase the state sales tax 3.45 percent (from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent). This is a tax that hits each and every one of us.

Here is the best part. The governor is trying to create “class warfare” by hitting higher income Californians. The Prop creates a 10.3 percent tax rate on folks with an income between $250,000 and $300,000. In this day with two wage earner families, this is not so high. But, to the governor, this is “rich”.

Finally, there is a new 12.3 percent tax rate on folks making more than $500,000 — an increase of 24 percent. Once again, another tragic error in thinking. Revenues will not increase. These individuals will simply move or find ways to shield their income.

The killer in all of this is that it will do nothing to help either the UC or Cal State systems. Eighty-nine percent will go to K-12 and the other 11 percent to community colleges. So, all of you UC and Cal State parents — do you like the double-whammy? Increased college costs and increased taxes.

Brown is holding a gun to our heads and holding education hostage. Instead of doing the hard things — challenging labor unions, rolling back sweet-heart pension deals, stopping pension-spiking, decreasing overtime costs, stopping the practice of “double-dipping” (hiring back retirees as consultants) — Brown simply threatens education.

It’s so diabolical and so simple. Who can vote against the kids? This is a total setup and we should not vote for it. In fact, we should demand a tax cut with corresponding cuts in pension costs, salaries and benefits.

We should also require that reductions in the labor force be done through attrition only. Proper management of vast state resources should not result in anyone losing a job. Except the administrators in the Parks Department that pleaded poverty while squirreling away $54 million in tax revenues in a secret account. They should all be sacked.

Please vote against all tax increases. We must force the state to live within its budget, force down its costs and provide services at a reasonable cost. This is what any good business would do. The state and its workers should do the same.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and is very happy to be supporting UCSB for the next 4 years. Really. He can be reached at


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