ASUC, Graduate Assembly host community forum on Prop. 30

Nancy Skinner speaks at Eshleman Library during debate on Proposition 30.
Samantha Rosenbaum/Staff
Nancy Skinner speaks at Eshleman Library during debate on Proposition 30.

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About 40 members of the UC Berkeley community gathered at Eshleman Library Tuesday evening to hear a debate on Proposition 30, a ballot measure which will determine whether the university is dealt a series of budget cuts.

The forum, which was co-sponsored by the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly, featured representatives from political organizations who argued both for and against the proposition. The measure proposes to temporarily increase both the income tax on the wealthiest Californians and the state sales tax. If voters fail to approve the measure, $250 million will be slashed from the university system’s budget for the current fiscal year, and students could see a 20.3 percent tuition increase.

At the forum, State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, argued in favor of Prop. 30, saying that it will help balance the state budget.

“It is an initiative that asks everyone in California to pay their fair share so that we can avoid these cuts to education, and we can ensure funding to local public safety,” Skinner said at the forum. “In terms of UC it would ensure that the fee increase that was frozen would not go into effect because we would have the revenue to be able to compensate UC the $125 million we promised.”

Conversely, Sue Caro, chairwoman of the Alameda County Republican Party, insisted that state legislators make education funding a priority, rather than hinge its finances on a ballot measure.

“While the high-speed rail project may be on track, the state is running off the rails,” said Caro. “(Education) shouldn’t be at the bottom of the lists and getting leftovers.”

Event organizers said the forum was held to urge eligible voters to vote at the Nov. 6 election.

“I just want to see Californians making a commitment to invest in the state,” said Angelica Salceda, external affairs vice president for the Graduate Assembly. “I hope everyone votes.”

Contact Mitchell Handler at [email protected].