UPDATE (9/18/12 at 1:26 p.m.): In the original version of this story, Addison Peterson was identified an official CSSA representative. He is not a CSSA representative, but a student at Cal State Los Angeles and spoke on his own accord.
The California State Legislature struck down a bill earlier this month that would have funded middle class CSU and UC students.
The measure, authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez, would have ended a tax break for out-of-state corporations to pay less taxes based on the amount of their property and hiring they have inside California, in addition to sales in the state.
AB 1500 was supposed to help struggling students with a 60 percent scholarship to cover the cost of rising tuition and fees.
“You basically took away an opportunity for students in higher education to gain affordability and accessibility over a legislative deal,” said Addison Peterson, of Cal State Los Angeles.
He said that Santa Ana Democrat Sen. Lou Correa, who spoke at a CSSA meeting last weekend, was partly to blame for the bill’s denial.
Correa and most Republicans rejected the bill, in favor of an alternative that Correa believed would have been a better solution.
The other proposal, that was set to be decided in the same session as AB 1500, promised to amend the bill that he said would hurt manufacturing companies in California in addition to providing $100 million to the UC and CSU each.
But a deal that the senator had proposed to protect corporations in California fell through without explanation.
“All I know is that the deal was called off,” Correa told reporters, “and I’m still questioning as to why that decision was made.”
Correa said he had no idea what happened, and that the next item on the agenda, AB 1500, was a bill he was completely unfamiliar with and was forced to make a last-minute decision; one that he was uncomfortable supporting since he was unfamiliar with nuances in it.
“I had no idea what I was voting on,” Correa said. “They had brought up a bill–100-plus (pages) and they asked us to vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ in five minutes… We didn’t know, so we voted ‘no.’”
Peterson disagreed. He insisted that every Democrat knew about AB 1500, including Correa. But he said Correa blatantly rejected the proposal because his deal had fallen through.
“Every single Democrat in the California Assembly was a co-author of the bill,” Peterson said. “It wasn’t a strange thing… I think he was being a hypocrite in there about the governor using (students) as wedge issues… You (Correa) didn’t want to vote for the bill because of your selfish legislative goals.”
CSSA president David Allison said that although they were disappointed with the outcome of AB 1500, they will look to the future for more viable options for offsetting tuition.
Allison also noted that Correa has been an ally of CSU students in the past, especially since he graduated from CSUF with a degree in economics in 1980.