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Op-Ed: California Should Restore Estate Tax to Fund ‘Free’ College

Op-Ed: California Should Restore Estate Tax to Fund ‘Free’ College

“By failing to restore its estate tax, California lost an estimated $18 billion in potential revenue between 2003 and 2016”

It’s not ‘free’ if you’re taking money from some people and giving it to others. That’s called redistribution.

Chuck Collins writes at the Sacramento Bee:

Here is one way to offer free college in California: Restore the state estate tax

Estuardo Mazariegos graduated this spring from Cal State Dominquez Hills, but with $18,000 in debt after a dozen years struggling to juggle work and paying for college.

Contrast his experience with a previous generation of Californians. Between 1968 and 1975, Dariel Garner attended both undergraduate and graduate school at UC Berkeley for free. He became an entrepreneur and within several decades had amassed a fortune of more than $100 million.

How was that free education possible? One reason: California used to tax the estates of its wealthy residents.

But in 2001, Congress reformed the federal estate tax — paid exclusively by multi-millionaires and billionaires — and cut states out of a “piggy back” arrangement that had existed since the 1920s. Prior to 2001, California’s share of federal estate tax revenue was almost a $1 billion a year.

Other states moved to retain their own estate taxes, including Washington, which dedicated revenue to a trust fund for K-12 and higher education. Oregon, Hawaii, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts and 13 other states also took action.

But not California.

By failing to restore its estate tax, California lost an estimated $18 billion in potential revenue between 2003 and 2016, according to a new report I helped research for the Institute for Policy Studies. Over this same period, average in-state tuition and fees for California public colleges and universities went up nearly 70 percent, adjusted for inflation.

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Comments

Chuck Collins might as well have titled his op-ed piece:

“Thinking of leaving California? Here’s another reason why you should do it ASAP.”

healthguyfsu | June 13, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Even in an upswing economy like right now, everyone should not get a college degree. It’s degree inflation and devalues the product. It makes identifying talent more difficult because the pool is flooded and thus diluted.

I knew this was a bad idea when I was a sophomore in college and had a barely adult-level brain…why can’t the so-called grown ups figure out the simple economics of supply and demand as it relates to higher education?

    why can’t the so-called grown ups figure out the simple economics of supply and demand as it relates to higher education?

    Oh, they can, and did.

    They also figured out that if fewer students enroll for college, there’s less revenue for universities and less demand for university professors. So to keep enrollment up (read: keep the money flowing into universities and keep their cushy tenured jobs), they maintain The Narrative (TM) that says you MUST have a college degree to succeed in life.

    It’s all a big bait-and-switch scam that in any other context could be subject to a class-action lawsuit under false advertisement laws. Like any other scam, it’s all about the money.

    Follow the money and it all becomes clear who benefits (and it’s not the students).

      healthguyfsu in reply to Archer. | June 14, 2018 at 12:53 am

      I’m in academia (in STEM) so my question was meant to expose fraud and stupidity more than actually seek an answer.

      Free college for everyone remains a terrible idea for the reasons I stated (even if it didn’t require confiscation of other peoples’ money) and you are correct about the incentive. What I can’t grasp is how easily the public bought this fraud as gospel truth, considering how easy it was for me to recognize the scam as a young, average, and inexperienced underclassman.

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