SGA Exec Response to Spirit of Alabama ActBy Mackenzie Brown | 02/18/2015 11:22pm
The idea of even taxing students is simply ridiculous. We pay a significant amount as it stands through tuition; the SGA should never increase that burden. President Hamilton Bloom and the Executive branch of the SGA have and will continue to take a stance against this unfairly represented tax.
The Spirit of Alabama Act was proposed on Feb. 5 and might be up for debate in tonight’s Senate meeting. The Act proposes a $12.50 per semester, or $25 per year, tax on every student with the proceeds going to the SGA.
The SGA at The University of Alabama should not tax the student body. Period.
That’s it. It doesn’t matter where the money might go, the SGA should not tax students more money than they are already paying in tuition.
The Act would raise approximately $900,000 each year in addition to the $140,000 the SGA already budgets.
Like other campus organizations, the SGA receives its funds from Student Affairs. Organizations such as The Crimson White, the SOURCE and University Programs receive their funds in the same way. Student Affairs, in turn, receive their funds from tuition. Historically this has worked for us, but other schools choose to take a different approach. Many schools have a Student Activity Fee added in addition to tuition. In fact, the author of the Spirit of Alabama Act listed nine SGA presidents from various schools who support the Act on that principle. He says these schools are able to have a higher budget from these fees and “every one of these schools ... has a higher activity fee than ours would.”
But the problem is these fees pay for all of their individual Student Affairs departments. The fee opened precedent to allow other fees, which, in The University of Minnesota’s case, lead to an additional $1,627.55 (plus or minus depending on individual cases) on top of their $6,030 tuition and other college fees each semester.
Imagine if the SGA raised taxes on students every time someone came up with a “worthwhile” idea on which to spend money. Who else would want some extra funding in addition to their regular budget? The Crimson White works countless hours for little pay producing a free, award-winning newspaper. Advertising can only go so far. Maybe they should charge the student body a fee for their service, too? Or University Programs, who puts on incredible activities for any and all University students. Surely they could do even more incredible things with a larger budget.
If the SGA proposes a tax, more will follow. Then what starts as $12.50 per semester can balloon to more than $1,600 very quickly. Just ask students at Minnesota. The Senators proposing the Act believe this will be a “one time fee,” but if this group has big ideas for $900,000 of students’ money, imagine all of the wonderful ways they can think of to spend $9 million.
The Executive branch will continue to fight for no taxes, but we ask for your help. Let us know what you think by emailing us at email@example.com. Find your Senator at sga.ua.edu/find-your-senator, email them and let them know that you do not support a SGA tax.
This isn’t about Executive versus Senate, Greeks versus non-Greeks or one group versus another; this is about the simple idea that the SGA at The University of Alabama should not tax its students.
The Executive Council consists of the elected offices of President, Executive Vice President, Executive Secretary, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for External Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice President for Financial Affairs, in addition to the appointed Chief of Staff.