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California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Bill cuts textbook sales tax

    If approved, a new proposed assembly bill may eliminate sales tax on textbooks for college students.

    “It would exempt college textbooks from California state sales tax,” said Cassandra Joiner, communication director for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly. “So if you go into your college book store and need to get books for your class, it would essentially amount to about an eight to nine percent discount.”

    Assembly Bill 479 was proposed by Donnelly on Feb. 19 to remove sales tax from textbooks in college bookstores.

    Joiner said that from the legal language, AB479 would account for the removal of textbook tax from both university and community college bookstores.

    “This is a legislative measure, so legislators vote on it,” said Joiner. “It goes through the legislative process.”

    She said that it is up to the legislative leadership as to how long it could take for the bill to be either approved or denied, and it must go through a series of steps.

    According to Joiner, the steps for the bill process include initially being assigned to a committee.

    Once it passes through the committee, it then goes to the assembly floor to be voted on.

    “If it passes there, then it goes on to the Senate and goes through the same process in the Senate,” said Joiner. “Then it is given a chance for the governor to sign or veto it after it passes both houses.”

    Donnelly said that his main reason for this bill proposal was the fact that students may pass on buying textbooks due to the high cost, and this could in turn hinder their education by not having the course reading material.

    “According to a study conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, seven out of 10 students have skipped buying textbooks assigned for their classes in recent years due to rising prices,” said Donnelly. “The State should not be punishing students investing in their future by adding to the inherent costs of attending college.”

    Donnelly said that this could also help with getting students from other states to attend colleges in California.

    “By removing the sales tax on textbooks purchased at college bookstores, this measure helps students with the cost of their education and gives incentive to talented students from other parts of the country to come to California to pursue their education,” said Donnelly.

    CLU bookstore manager Jeremy Levenberg said that he would support AB479.

    “I’m not aware of any negative consequences that it would have for the book store,” said Levenberg. “It’s just one more advantage for the book store that we can offer the campus community to help their savings and access to educational material.”

    Levenberg said that the bookstore always supports efforts to increase student success, including affordability of merchandise.
    Although the bookstore thinks the bill could help students, some students at CLU seem to think differently.

    “It’s good for us if they eliminate sales tax on the books, but they’re going to have to make it up somewhere else,” said freshman Cassidee Baxter. “So they are going to have to tax something else more or raise taxes.”

    Students worry that eliminating the taxes on textbooks might mean that the state might have to raise taxes on other items to make up the difference.

    “Off the bat it sounds good, because it sounds like you’re saving money,” said student Maddie Spear. “I think when you have to dish out 150 bucks for a book, that other $15 is not worth the consequences.”

    Joiner said that in general, bills passed in this session are not enacted until the following year.

    Thus, if AB479 is passed, then it would come into effect on January 1, 2014.

    To track and follow AB479, along with other assembly bills going through the legislative process, go to


    Heather Ford
    Staff Writer
    Published March 20, 2013

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