“No taxation without representation” was declared by the 13 American Colonies under British rule. “Don’t tax our student fees without consulting us first” is what we, the students, should be saying. You might be asking, “What is all this student fee tax stuff that I have been hearing about?” Let me lay it out and walk you through it.
The University of California, and thus UCSB, is in a budget crisis. One of the solutions the Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy has is to tax the spending of non-state funded entities. This essentially translates into the University taking away money from groups like Arts and Lecture, Student Health, the Recreation Center and other entities that are funded by student lock-in fees and don’t receive money from the state. This does not mean you, as a student, would pay more. Rather the groups that receive your lock-in fees would be getting less money due to the tax, which could mean that they would not be able to provide the same quality of services to you.
Placing a tax upon the non-state funded entities’ spending would hopefully alleviate this budget crisis, or at least soften the blow. However, students democratically voted for these lock-ins and specifically directed their money to fund certain groups. The sole purpose of student lock-ins is to provide funding for certain services and to insulate said crucial services from budget cuts by administrators.
So, basically, taxing student lock-ins would take money away from their designated targets.
Why should you care? How does this affect you? Well, do you ever go to the Rec Cen? Play intramurals? Go to CLAS? Fix your bike at the A.S. Bike Shop? Want funding from A.S. Finance Board? Well, since the University wants to tax the money that’s going to those entities, they will obviously get less money and be forced to cut the services they offer students. You are already burdened by paying local, state and federal taxes, education fees and registration fees.
At the same time, you face a decrease in services provided by the University due to budget cuts. You should be outraged, because the money that you are paying to important services is being taken away. You are already faced with burdens, taxes, fees and decreasing services, and now you are expected to take on a heavier load. That’s not right. That’s not paying our fair share.
“Everyone needs to share in these cuts,” Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Donna Carpenter said. I think we have shouldered enough of the burden already. Student lock-ins especially should be off the table when dealing with this budget crisis because students have taken these additional fees upon themselves to provide services that the University could not.
“Okay, I am pissed off now. What can I do?” Associated Students — yes, they’re doing something important and useful with your student fees — is mobilizing an effort and a coalition to fight this. A.S. wants to meet with everyone on the Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy and convince each member to oppose the implementation of such a tax upon student lock-ins. Instead, they should find an alternative solution that the students would approve of. The members of the committee range from vice chancellors to professors. You can participate in meeting with these very important people to convince them not to pass this tax. You are a key element in this plan because you are a student that cares about these programs and wants to protect them. Showing how important these lock-ins are to the students will be essential in winning this fight.
This is not a comprehensive solution. You may have your criticisms, but it is a start to solving this problem. If you have additional ideas, any questions or want to get involved in this process, please drop by the A.S. main office in the MCC building adjacent to the UCen.