Oil Extraction Fee Initiative filed for California Education Funding – Time to Get Signatures!

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I’ve been making noise about how much this state needs an oil extraction fee for a couple of years now, haven’t ISenator Torrico had legislation that would have dedicated the fee toward higher education;  while Asm. Pedro Nava’s better version was only targeted to the General Fund.  Obviously neither of them could go anywhere with absolutely no Republican votes, given our crippling 2/3 rule.

Well, just an hour ago I ran into an old Green friend who told me that the paperwork for an initiative for this long-overdue revenue source has just been filed with the Secretary of State, and we’ll now have 150 days to get enough signatures to get it on the ballot for the next election, whether that’s in September or November or whatever (I’ll have much more details soon.)  And THIS version raises a 15% fee to go toward education including K-12, but weighted especially toward community colleges which have been so cruelly hit by recent cuts.

All your usual quibbles – “the fee will be passed on to consumers at the pump,” “the oil companies will just not bother drilling” – should be put to rest by these two releases I’m posting below;  as for me, I’ve gotta run.  I’m off to tonight’s DFA (Democracy For America) – we need to start the process of signature gathering right away, to get this on the next ballot, whether that will be September or November.  And oil companies can go ahead and blame Republicans for this, just like millionaires can when we raise taxes on them – the California GOP refused to allow us any other way to avoid DRACONIAN-ASS CUTS to our education and public safety.

DR. JACK SCOTT, CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES CHANCELLOR,
ENDORSES OIL EXTRACTION FEE TO RESCUE EDUCATION
Proposition Statutory Initiative

GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE OFFICIALLY CUT $1.4 BILLION FROM HIGHER EDUCATION;
MORE CUTS PROJECTED:
$585 MILLION MORE FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGES,
AND $1.1 BILLION MORE FROM CSU AND UC; MORE SEVERE CUTS OF $5 BILLION, K-12;
$66 PER UNIT TUITION PROJECTED AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES

OIL EXTRACTION FEE PROPOSITION INITIATIVE WILL BRING IN $3.6 TO $4 BILLION FOR EDUCATION, K-12, College, University

Students, Professors and activists officially submit text of Proposition Initiative to Implement Fee on Crude Oil, to California Attorney General

In response to the drastic cuts in California education, kindergarten through college and university, a coalition of students, professors, and other activists have submitted a statutory proposition initiative to the Office of the Attorney General in Sacramento. The Proposition mandates a 15% fee on the value per barrel of crude oil extracted from California. According to the Capitol Weekly (1/15/09), California is the only (major) oil-producing state in the nation without an oil extraction fee. This fee will raise approximately $1.08 billion for K-12, and approximately $2.6 billion for California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California, annually. Texas’ oil extraction fee raises approximately $2 billion annually for education.

Proponents have launched the first stage in getting the initiative placed on the ballot for a statewide vote. It will take approximately 40 days or less for the Attorney General to produce a title and summary. At that time petition gatherers will have a maximum of 150 days to collect 504,760 signatures of registered voters in California. When they accomplish this, the proposition will be placed on the ballot to be passed by a majority vote. Organizing signature gatherers on statewide college campuses and other areas has begun. Volunteers are being recruited. Donations and endorsements are being sought. Endorsements have started rolling in. The three most recent endorsements are from Dr. Jack Scott, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, from the California Community College Association Board CCA / CTA, and from Associated Students Inc. of California State University, Los Angeles. Click on our website link below and visit our endorsement page.

For further information please contact (562) 234-3319
www.rescueeducationcalifornia.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihLGc8KDDAI – KCBS TV Interview on Oil Extraction Fee to Fund Education

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjSRjWA31VU- CBS TV 13, Sacramento, Official filing of the proposition with Attorney General

http://www.facebook.com/Rescue.Education

Sincerely,

Proponents:

Peter Mathews, Professor of Political Science, American Government and International Relations
Founder and State Coordinator of Rescue Education California
Frank Dawoodjee, M.A. In Political Science
Paul Garver, M.D.

c. 562.234.3319
e. go2mathews@msn.com

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Proposed Initiative: OIL EXTRACTION FEE TO RESCUE EDUCATION
Maintaining California’s competitiveness in the new global economy

California’s Educational System, Kindergarten through College and University, has been cut to the bone. Overcrowded classrooms, textbook shortages, teacher and professor lay-offs, and reduced or eliminated college class sections have made it impossible for millions of talented students to graduate. For example, Long Beach Unified School District eliminated computer literacy classes as a graduation requirement.

University of California students’ tuition fees are being raised 8% and California State University students’ tuition fees are being raised by 15% percent for Fall 2011. California Community College students are facing a proposed tuition fee increase of 38% (to $540) per semester minimum, up to 154% ($990) per semester for Fall 2011. Californians must act now to save our once world renowned Educational System.

Education is the foundation of a strong economy. California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyed tuition free education at UC Berkley and Santa Monica College, respectively. In the 1960s and 1970s, California’s Educational System was the envy of the world. During this time, public higher education was essentially tuition free, as mandated by Governor Pat Brown‘s Master Plan for Higher Education, and California’s economy grew to the 5th largest in the world, supporting a large vibrant middle class.

Today, California’s middle class is endangered, and California’s economy has fallen to 8th position in the world because of a lack of investment in education and technology. China recently invented the world’s fastest computer and produces the largest number of solar panels, while South Korea produces the best electric car batteries using cutting edge technology. California’s K-12 spending per pupil has dropped to 43rd out of 50 states. College and university graduates are saddled with huge debt. If California is to successfully compete with states and countries such as China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and India, California’s Educational System must again be adequately funded, offering more classes and programs in cutting-edge technology, skilled manufacturing, alternative energy, and the arts. California Community Colleges need adequate funding to continue training Nurses, and preparing Firefighters and Teachers.

Unbelievably, California has failed to employ a widely used revenue source that can address this crisis in our education. This revenue source is employed by every major oil producing state, except California. This untapped source of revenue is an extraction fee on oil pumped in California, onshore and offshore. Since California is the nation’s third largest producer of oil, after Texas and Alaska, a 15% oil extraction fee (midway between that of Texas and Alaska) would raise approximately $3.6 billion each year, at 2011 oil prices. This has not been a partisan issue in other states. For example, Governor Sarah Palin, with a Republican legislature, raised Alaska’s oil extraction fee to 25%, bringing in billions of dollars. Texas’ and Alaska’s gasoline prices were not affected by their oil extraction fees, and in March 2011, their price per gallon of gasoline was lower than California’s. From 1901 to 2008, oil companies have extracted over 10 billion barrels of oil from California’s territory. Based on 2011 per barrel crude oil prices ($100 per barrel), oil companies have extracted over $1 trillion worth of oil. At the current world market price, this oil extraction fee would have raised over $150 billion. This type of fee is the economic standard in every major oil producing state and nation around the world. California can no longer afford to give preferential treatment to oil companies compared to how they are treated elsewhere.

This initiative requires that California apply a 15% oil extraction fee on the value of each barrel of oil, California’s common resource, extracted onshore and offshore. Following Texas’ example of devoting this oil revenue to its Educational System, the revenue generated by this fee shall be appropriated for non-capital purposes in the following amounts: K-12 shall receive 30% (approximately $1.08 billion) . The California Community College System (approximately 3,000,000 students) shall receive 48% (approximately $1.72 billion). The California State University System (approximately 412,000 students) shall receive 11% (approximately $400 million). The University of California System (approximately 200,000 students) shall receive 11% (approximately $400 million). This will reduce college and university tuition fees, and restore cut class sections. The funding increases will pay to rehire professors, laid-off teachers, and reduce K-12 class sizes.

This proposition, along with existing anti-trust and anti-collusion laws, prohibits oil companies from passing on the oil extraction fee to oil refineries, gasoline stations, and consumers (the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can prohibit oil companies from passing on fees such as this to consumers). This fee will enable California to capture $3.6 billion that would have left California. This additional money will help rejuvenate California’s stagnant economy. This fee will have minimal impact on oil company profits which total in the hundreds of billions of dollars. For example, Exxon Mobil reported record profits of $45 billion in 2008, and Shell Oil reported profits of $31 billion in 2007.

If oil companies illegally pass on the oil extraction fee, a fine shall be assessed equal to the amount passed on. The dollar amount recouped shall be equally distributed to each Californian as a rebate check at the end of each year. The State Attorney General is bound by this proposition to examine the books of oil companies operating in the state of California, if they appear to be breaking this law.

The revenues from this proposition exclusively constitute a Competitiveness Education Fund and can not be commingled with, or lent to, the State General Fund. The State shall not be allowed to reduce its regular education funding corresponding to the additional revenue produced by this proposition. The revenues from this Competitiveness Education Fund shall be deposited in a Special Account and distributed, on a monthly basis, by the California State Treasurer to each of the California Educational Systems involved. Passage of this proposition will once again ensure a bright future for this generation and succeeding generations of Californians who have to compete in the new global economy.

Author: Peter Mathews, Professor of Political Science, Cypress College (562) 234-3319 go2mathews@msn.com

Co-Author: Frank Dawoodjee, MA, Political Science

Co-Author: Paul R. Garver, M.D.

Co-Author: Gloria Badal, Professor of Political Science, Cypress College

Co-Author: George Jouganatos, Ph.D., Economics


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.