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Proposition 30

A loss for business, a win for students

Staff Writer

BARSTOW • Already reeling from high taxes and a famously anti-business climate, California’s job creators are coming to terms with Proposition 30’s income tax and sales tax hikes.

But for students attending state-run universities, Proposition 30 means a $249 refund. And even students in the Barstow area may profit.

The proposition, which will fund schools through an increase of personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years and an increase in sales and use tax by one-quarter of a cent for four years, altered the way educational institutions in Barstow will survey their budget deficits.

Thom Armstrong, president of Barstow Community College, said the approval of Proposition 30 will allow the school to “hold the line.” Since 2008, a decline of funding has cost the community college system in California overall roughly half a million students who were shut out due to reductions in class sections.

“What this does is prevent a bad situation, which the colleges find themselves, from getting much worse,” Armstrong said.

In just the past two years, BCC has had to eliminate approximately a quarter of their instructional offerings, which Armstrong noted is in line with the California community college system as a whole.

Had the measure been defeated, Armstrong said the college might have had to look at salary and staff reductions, furloughs and other cost-containing options in order to battle the budget deficit.

Jeff Malan, superintendent of the Barstow Unified School District, echoed the sentiment.

“Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief that we’re not posed with middle of the school year cuts,” Malan said. A Proposition 30 loss would have meant a budget cut of $457 per student in grades K-12.

Linda Prutsos, who will graduate from BCC in December, believes a Propostion 30 defeat would have hurt. “It would have been devastating to the college,” she said.

Reginald Garland Jr., who is working toward his associate’s degree in social sciences, was pleased as well. Asked about the hypothetical drawback of Proposition 30 losing, which could have meant fewer programs, larger classrooms and extended time to graduate, he acknowledged the burden, but remained cavalier.

“Take it or leave it,” he said. “I’m going to take it.”

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