Republicans seek support from college students
The war for the political loyalties of California college students is heating up, with Republicans making a bid for campus support in a letter to student leaders.
The letter, released Thursday, tells students that Democrats aren’t looking out for them in the Capitol. It says Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan won’t send new money to campuses but would cut college spending if voters reject the taxes in November's election.
“You deserve better than to be victims of their proposed ‘trigger cuts,’ and the solutions we offer can balance the state budget, while protecting education,” wrote Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare).
Spending on higher education has been a hot-button topic as lawmakers wrestle over the state budget, and thousands of students marched on the Capitol last month. Republicans have blamed Democrats, who control the Legislature, for passing budgets that resulted in tuition increases.
Claudia Magana, president of the University of California Student Assn., welcomed Republicans' overtures but pointed out that many students favor higher taxes –- something Republicans steadfastly oppose. Magana said the association plans to endorse Brown’s tax plan this week.
Democrats are also trying to appeal to college students. Last week, Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) touted support from some of the same student leaders Republicans are trying to win over. Perez is pushing a plan to cancel corporate tax breaks granted and use the money for college scholarships.
In addition, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has proposed putting some college textbooks online to cut costs for students.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Randall Sumabat, left, and Nick Presher from Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria hold up signs at a march on the Capitol opposing education budget cuts in March. Credit: Randy Pench / MCT