Taxing Oil for Education

Today I’ve taken my first year composition class to hear a talk by state assemblyman Alberto Torrico about AB656, a bill that would create a tax on oil and gasoline produced in the state, to fund public education.

Logical arguments offered in favor of funding higher ed:

  • for every dollar spent on higher ed., more than $4 are returned to the state economy
  • in 2025, California will be short a million college graduates needed for the workforce
  • more spent on prisons than on higher ed., and that system has failed.
    • 70% recidivism
    • 60% functionally illiterate
    • no rehab/education programs
    • #students under a third grade reading level predicts prison levels.
  • Other states all have this kind of tax.
  • Oil companies are prohibited from passing on the extra cost to consumers
  • Oil companies are making record profits

Torrico’s ethos:

  • son of immigrant parents–Mexican and Japanese
  • first generation college graduate
  • has focused on socially progressive issues aimed to help those in the most difficult circumstances.
  • graduated from public higher ed in California

Emotional arguments, or pathos:

  • fairness–in several ways.  –Shades into an ethical argument as well.
  • appeal to what California is all about–creating a better life, better future
  • Wide public support — maybe another form of ethical argument as well

Exhortation: Sign the petition

In our next class we’ll analyze the above argument all together, and talk about how to evaluate it.

Leave a Reply