SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez spoke to thousands of students and higher education supporters today at the Fund Our Future rally at the State Capitol, commending students for their leadership and highlighting the Middle Class Scholarship Act. The act, authored by Speaker Pérez, would cut state college fees by two-thirds and give community colleges $150 million to increase affordability by closing a billion-dollar tax loophole that benefits out-of-state companies. For families with students at a UC or a CSU who make less than $150,000 but make too much to qualify for financial aid, the Middle Class Scholarship Act will save them over $8,000 and $4,000 a year, respectively.
Right now, out-of-state companies that generate few jobs in California choose their own rate for taxes they owe in the state. Closing the “single sales factor” loophole, as Republican Governor Chris Christie did in New Jersey, would put California in line with the tax policies of 23 other states, including Texas, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington. For more information on the Middle Class Scholarship Act, visit MiddleClassScholarship.com.
Below is the transcript of Speaker Pérez’s speech at the Fund Our Education rally, which was sponsored by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, California State Student Association and the University of California Student Association.
And thank you for coming to Sacramento!
I’m so pleased to join you, and I’m so proud of each of you standing here today.
California is watching you, and I know the people of our state are going to hear you today.
And for the naysayers who doubt you, remind them that when we passed the California Dream Act this past year, student leaders were there fighting with us every step of the way.
Just by being here, you are sending a powerful message to the men and women who serve under this dome.
And that message is simple: keep the promises you have made.
California made a promise, that every single person who worked hard in high school would have the opportunity to go to and make the most of their potential at a UC, CSU or Community College.
That promise is not being kept when community colleges across California have drastic cutbacks, layoffs and fee hikes that force students out of the system.
And that promise is not being kept when student fees have risen more than 100 percent at the UC and CSU.
That’s doubling the debt for students, and doubling the bill for parents.
Now, some folks are fortunate enough to be able to pay for college out of pocket.
And I am one of the hundreds of thousands of Californians who is deeply grateful that the Cal Grant ensured I could go to school.
But for thousands of students across California, the debt is too much to take on, and the bill is too high to pay.
And so they chose not to go to school at all.
That should never happen in California.
And that is why I’ve introduced the Middle Class Scholarship Act.
Any student or family with an income of less than 150,000 is eligible. And every single one of those folks will see the price of college drop by $4,000 for a CSU or $8,200 for the UC if we pass this bill into law.
That’s less debt for you. Real savings for your parents. And a great investment in California.
But I need your help to make it pass.
To pay for the Middle Class Scholarship, we close a Schwarzenegger Corporate Tax Loophole that costs California’s taxpayers one billion dollars on out-of-state corporations.
But as you know, there are some folks in this building who think not only are corporations people, but that they’re the only people worth fighting for.
So we need to create a groundswell of support across the state. You can start by signing the petition, and sharing your story on Middle Class Scholarship dot com.
Then when you get home, tweet about your debt, like the Middle Class Scholarship Act on Facebook.
Talk to your parents and friends, and urge them to do the same.
There are 82 steps on the road to victory: 54 in the Assembly. 27 in the Senate. And one in the Governor’s office.
But if we work together, I am absolutely confident we will get there.
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker