SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Some California Democrats want to make college tuition free for in-state students by taxing very wealthy residents.

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman said Monday she’s introducing a bill to create a 1 percent tax on Californians earning more than $1 million per year. The Stockton Democrat says the tax would provide an estimated $2.2 billion each year – enough revenue to make public colleges tuition free for residents.

“I see this as an investment in California’s overall future,” she said, adding that the measure will help middle-class families send their kids to college.

The bill, AB1356, comes on the heels of a separate proposal by other Assembly Democrats to make college more affordable. That plan, which was introduced last week, aims to make college debt-free for students by helping cover non-tuition related expenses and expanding aid for community college students. Eggman said she thinks her bill and that proposal will complement each other.

The bill requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature because it would create a new tax. It would also be put on the ballot so voters can weigh in, Eggman said.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said while he doesn’t think college should be “excessively expensive,” he doesn’t support making college tuition free because he believes students should make a contribution toward their education costs.

The new tax would “give California citizens who have done well one more reason to move out of California,” he said.

Eggman said she doesn’t believe the new tax would drive wealthy people out of the state.

The wealthiest 1.5 percent of Californians generates roughly half of the state’s income tax revenue. Voters approved Proposition 55 in November to continue taxing that group at a higher rate until 2030 to provide education and health care funding.

In 2004, California voters approved a 1 percent tax on people earning more than $1 million per year to fund mental health programs.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Comments (4)
  1. Jerry Cason says:

    thats called take from the workers and give to the lazy,I had to work my way thru school

  2. Bob Bridge says:

    This demented women expects individuals who worked hard to get where they are, hand over their earnings so that others may get a free ride. Apparently, punishment for theft is for the little people.

  3. No skin in the game makes you appreciate the game less. The trouble with “free” anything is that it becomes less important and valuable to those who benefits from it. Students will also choose their major more wisely and pick more marketable degree to make it worthy of their investment.
    Over taxed “rich people” will move to a lower taxed region. Rush Limbaugh has moved from NY to FL for this very reason and taken his and his staff’s job away from NY. Many other talk show hosts are contemplating this move if their tax burden gets heavier. The rich is mobile and will move and take their wealth with them. We have seen manufacturing from California move to other states due to over regulation that reduces their profit, “rich people” will do the same when an additional education tax takes more of their money.
    A college education is already affordable with federal and state grants as well as scholarships particularly for minorities. The almost free local community colleges are available for everyone.

    1. Also, why is it that all these “do gooders liberals” won’t crack open their check book and write a check but like to spend freely with other people’s money?

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