Friday, June 09, 2006


As Citizens for Tax Justice and others are highlighting the dramatic growth in wealth inequality in the United States, researchers like David Berliner at Arizona State are linking it as well to the challenges of reducing the race/class educational opportunity gap, especially in urban school districts.
At the college level, the American Federation of Teachers is warning that Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress' tax cuts for the rich and the recent deficit reduction bill have just tightened the noose around the necks of many of my SF State students and hundreds of thousands of other low and middle income students throughout the country.
College students and their families are just a few weeks away from seeing their student loan costs jump by hundreds to thousands of dollars. A few months ago, Congress passed a deficit reduction bill that made the biggest cuts in federal student loan program history--$12 billion. Under that bill, as of July 1 interest rates for most loan programs will increase by 1 to 2 percentage points, up to a maximum of 8.5 percent. The money those hikes generate, which come at the expense of low- and middle-income students and working families, will help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, a fact that seemed not to trouble the Republican-controlled Congress. July 1 is also the deadline for students and their families to consolidate their loans. After that date, consolidation options become seriously limited for current and future borrowers. Loan consolidation allows students to pay off current loans that may have variable interest rates, and assume one new loan at a lower, fixed rate.
For an excellent article on progressive tax reform in California see the CA Tax Reform Association's argument for commercial property tax reform - Tax Policy for the 21st Century: Resolving California’s Long-Term Structural Deficit.
The California Progress Report blog calls the article "a must read for any serious student of California's tax and revenue system."

For great analysis of the California Budget - see the CA Budget Project's website as well. I have always liked the popular education approach also of publications like Dollars and Sense and their ability to explain economic concepts in language that we can all understand.

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