Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) this week began the 2013 legislative session by co-authoring a measure to protect University of California, California State University and community college students from rising costs through a seven year tuition freeze. The legislation Grove supports would ensure that funds generated through Proposition 30, the statewide tax increase approved in November that is expected to generate $50 billion in new revenue over seven years, goes to public education.
"The voters were promised last fall that if they supported Governor Brown's Prop. 30, it would result in more money for higher education," said Assemblywoman Grove. "If they were serious, the politicians in Sacramento would keep that promise. Democrats shouldn't be able to use this money to backfill the state's budget debts while raising education costs for students and their families."
The proposal would hold tuition and fees for UC, CSU and community colleges at the levels set in the 2011-12 academic year for the seven years that Prop. 30 income and sales tax increases are in effect. The measure states the intent of the Legislature to protect higher education funding for California public colleges and universities, and make any potential fee increases unnecessary.
Shannon Grove said that while there was one provision in Proposition 30 to ensure that new revenue would flow directly to schools, there was another provision in the measure that would allow the Legislature to reduce current General Fund dollars for higher education. Governor Brown visited college campuses in the fall to drum up support for the initiative, urging students that they could avoid tuition hikes by voting for Prop. 30.
"Brown told these college students that if they registered to vote, supported Prop. 30, and told all their friends to do the same, they'd keep more money in their pockets through a reduction in tuition," Grove said. " It's time to get serious about holding the Governor and the majority party to the campaign promises they spun to get the votes for their billion dollar tax increase."
Shannon Grove represents the Kern County communities of Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Taft and Frazier Park/Lebec.