OPINION: State holds the key to the future budget

The state of California is broke, and its all Sacramento’s fault

by Adam Collins
Staff Reporter

College of the Desert students gather with their peers in a march in the state’s capital on March 14, 2011. (Yvonne Gonzalez/The Chaparral)

The state of California is broke, and its all Sacramento’s fault. Governor Jerry Brown and the state legislature are forced to make crucial decisions to reduce the state’s $26 billion deficit.

Health, human service, social, and educational programs, education as well as state funded agencies will inevitably feel the repercussions of cutting nearly $13 billion from the state deficit.

The educational system in the California will be hit hard by the cuts, with College of the Desert (COD) looking to loose as much as $5.5 million in state funds.

Budget cuts at COD are inevitable, still the severity of those cuts is crucial as to how COD will operate and educate in the future. This is why COD students and the residents of California should support the extension of the state tax increase, to curtail even more financial damage to state collegiate budgets.

There is much disagreement in Sacramento over whether or not a state tax increase should be extended. An extension would significantly reduce the financial magnitude of further cuts to the state budget.

The result of this debate will directly affect the educational lives of millions of students throughout the state, from K-12, including thousands of students that attend junior colleges like COD. Sacramento must render a decision to extend or let expire the tax increase by July 1.

In these rough economic times, with Sacramento holding the key to state coffers, it falls to COD administration to face the facts. It is these decisions that often times end up being the beacon of criticism.

There are those that feel the students at COD have been left out of the discussion, while the quality of their educations is left to bare the brunt of lack of funds. In fact the opposite is true.

COD President Jerry Patton and other members of the administration, along with the COD student government, and COD faculty have held open forum meetings on a handful of occasions throughout the spring semester. These forums, held at the Pollock Theater and Cravens Student Center, informed students and faculty in great detail about the budget talks, encouraging attendees to ask questions regarding the issue.

President Patton has personally traveled to Sacramento, on several occasions, to meet with lawmakers on the importance of supporting a public vote for sustaining the tax increase.

While students should continue to keep a watchful eye on decisions made by COD administration, most difficult budget decisions are made by state legislators.

Students should be demanding that their state representative allow the public to vote on budget issues, including the extension of the state tax increase. This is the most important action that can be taken by students to minimize cuts at state level.
A recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California discovered that a majority of likely voters support being able to vote on issues regarding the state’s budget.

This is precisely why the most important action that students, faculty members, and administrators from all levels of education, as well as members of the community can exercise is to write, call, or email their local state representative and demand they allow a public vote on allowing the extension of the state tax increase.

The budget cuts for student’s at COD is an issue that is very real and hits close to home. Frustration and the anxiety of unfamiliarity of the topic can often times get misdirected onto those who seek to lend the most help.

The importance of putting pressure on state lawmakers to make better decisions on state budget issues is the most effective and realistic way to make a difference at any college in the state of California. That is until the next round of budget cuts comes about.

Though it is important to keep a watchful eye over decisions made by members of the administration, the real battle over collegiate budget cuts is not on campus, but in Sacramento. It is the state legislators in Sacramento that should feel the pressure and power of the students.

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