Chavez’s AB 13: Good for Veterans and California

Assemblymember Rocky Chavez Assemblymember Rocky Chavez 10 Comments

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Last weekend, we all read a blog post with some negative commentary about my policies and Assembly Bill 13, a piece of legislation I am carrying. My friend Chip Dykes took the liberty of sending me a piece he submitted to SD Rostra as a response of his own. Apparently he submitted the piece two days ago. In the interest of getting it in front of the readers, I decided to post it myself.

Chavez’s AB 13: Good for Veterans and California

By Chip Dykes

This weekend, a blog post appeared on SD RostraThe Flash Report and a few other publications criticizing Assembly Bill 13, a piece of legislation authored by Oceanside’s Assemblymember Rocky Chávez. Usually, I do not give credence to these kinds of inflammatory posts, but Richard Rider’s “GOP Assemblyman Rocky Chávez pushing new subsidies – disappointing” struck a nerve with me.

Never mind that the post is based off of a 129-character Tweet or the fact that Mr. Rider does not take the time to adequately explain AB 13, his piece is filled with incorrect information. I feel the need to respond, not just as a veteran, but as a community activist who is genuinely concerned about the future of California.

AB 13 would let recently discharged members of our military pay in-state tuition at any California Community College, California State University, or University of California. It would waive the residency requirement for one year, until the veteran student can become an official California resident.  I am a strong supporter of AB 13, not just because it benefits our men and women in uniform, but because it makes good economic sense.

Despite Mr. Rider’s assertions, the current federal Post-9/11 GI Bill actually only covers the costs of in-state tuition. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that there is a large monetary difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition – $5,000 at a Community College, over $11,000 at a California State University and over $22,000 at a University of California. Since their GI bill will only pay for in-state tuition, a veteran who was not stationed in California prior to being discharged will have to pay $22,000 out of their own pocket if they want to attend a UC. This goes well above and beyond the $1,500 monthly housing allowance Mr. Rider refers to in his piece.

Currently, 19 other states, like Texas and our neighbor Arizona, offer newly discharged military members’ in-state tuition. This puts California at a competitive disadvantage, as most veterans will likely take their expertise and training elsewhere. These men and women are hardworking and highly skilled, exactly the type of workers and students we need in our state.

It is important to note this issue is being discussed on a national level. A bipartisan team of Congressmen recently introduced HR 357, otherwise known as the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act. This bill would prevent public colleges and universities from receiving any veterans’ education benefits unless they charge the same rate of tuition and fees for nonresident veterans as they do for in-state students. If California does not move in the direction of AB 13, we could lose a large amount federal funding.

AB 13 is not another state subsidy, it is far from that. It is estimated that each veteran attending school full time using their GI Bill will bring a minimum of $20,000 per year of federal money to California. This is money that will be spent in our state, stimulating our economy.

I am proud to support AB 13; it is a great piece of legislation and a great first-step for our freshman Assemblymember.

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Comments 10

  1. Assemblymember Chavez – I suspect a great deal of the hostility toward your legislation reflected on this website is driven by the belief that any bill that gains support among the Assembly majority must be a bad bill.

  2. “AB 13 is not another state subsidy, it is far from that. It is estimated that each veteran attending school full time using their GI Bill will bring a minimum of $20,000 per year of federal money to California. This is money that will be spent in our state, stimulating our economy.”

    I”m not following this; where is the $20,000 in federal money coming from?

  3. Brian, I think that the $20,000 reference is primarily to the money the GI Bill pays ex-military students. It’s a bit high, but essentially correct –mathematically.

    But to accept that premise, we should also give student preference to people in other states on food stamps and who otherwise qualify for federal subsidies. The more the merrier!

    Moreover, assuming the student is in a four year state college, much of that federal money could go towards TUITION — but only a fraction of the TOTAL per student cost. That has a NEGATIVE stimulus effect on our economy!

    And even after the first year when the CA residency is established, such a student will STILL cost Californian at least $10,000 per year — the part of per student college costs now paid by the taxpayer.

    Are our colleges short of students? Not hardly!

    It’s like the old saw about the car dealer who claims to sell every car at a loss, but will make it up on volume.

  4. Brian Brady, Federal $ is from people who pay taxes or borrowing from the Federal treasury. People who don’t pay taxes don’t understand that whole ‘no free lunch’ concept.

  5. I just want to say that this bill also helps out fellow vets who were california residents that are stationed outside of california. I recently got out of the military and because I was stationed in Texas, California no longer considers me a resident and now I have to pay the extra fees the gi bill does not cover. I consider california my home, I enlisted in California and when I got out came back to California, but if this bill doesnt get signed then I will have to move back to Texas for a more affordable education. If I would have known that I was going to pay out of state rates I would have stayed in Texas because this is a headache and I already shed a lot of tears over this situation.

  6. This seems like an opportunity for a bi-partisan bill that ensures our military men and women don’t lose California residency simply because they served outside of California.

  7. Jessica unless you changed your residency you should still be a californian. check your last LES or DD214. Texas may think your a resident if you registered a car there. If you kept your CA drivers license you are still a CA resident.

    PS – if you dropped californian residency for Texas to not pay a state income tax you may have been misinformed. out of state military that are CA residents don’t pay state taxes. its a good thing CA does which surprisingly a lot of southern states like SC do pay state income taxes when surviving outside the state (happened to a roommate of mine).

  8. “if you dropped californian residency for Texas to not pay a state income tax you may have been misinformed. out of state military that are CA residents don’t pay state taxes.”

    Elliot saw where I was going with this. Oftentimes, service members become TX or FL residents to avoid state income taxes; that’s unnecessary for Californians.

    This bill is a “magnet” for true out-of-state service members, designed to entice them to become Californians by offering subsidized tuition. We can argue the merits of that sort of policy if we truly understand that.

    As a conservative, I don’t favor subsidies for business or individuals on principle. Politically, it’s pretty savvy because it has a small financial impact with huge PR upside.

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