Lawmakers reject oil tax for school cuts

March 13, 2008 7:53:16 AM PDT
Public schools throughout California are hoping for a new rescue plan after Republican lawmakers last night shot down a Democratic proposal to tax oil companies more to make up for Governor Schwarzenegger's education cuts.

It's back to the drawing board on how to save thousands of teaching jobs that are said to be slashed across the state to help the governor balance his multi-billion dollar deficit.

Teachers in Cupertino will picket later today - to let the community know that they are constantly fighting for their jobs.

Under the proposed tax, oil companies would have been charged an additional 6-percent on all the oil they extract in California, as well as an additional 2-percent tax on windfall oil profits. The tax would have generated $1.2 billion dollars a year for education. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez proposed the bill that prompted a fierce fight from Republicans who oppose any tax to deal with the state's financial problems. Oil producers argue they already pay too many taxes, state Democrats disagree and say it's time to pay up.

"The Republicans are basically standing with the oil companies. It's a very simple vote, you are either for public education or you with the gas companies who have been making record profit for the last three consecutive years," said Assm. Fabian Nunez (D) Los Angeles.

"Its bad tax policy, because we already have the highest oil tax or gas tax in the country, our consumers are already paying the most," said Assm. Chuck DeVore (R) Irvine.

The tax would not have had an impact on your pocket-book at the pump. The bill was written to block companies from passing the costs onto consumers. Many teachers from across the state were hoping that this oil tax would have helped save their jobs.


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