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Proposition 30 Yes/Proposition 38 No
Proposition 30 is necessary because thanks to a previous generation of voters we are stuck with a crazy requirement of 2/3 of the legislature to pass any kind of tax increase. With the Republicans all nailed down tight by the lunatic fringe in a ridiculous pledge imposed by Grover Norquist to not raise taxes ever, increasing taxes even in the fiscal emergency of the past few years outside of the initiative system is impossible. Governor Brown is staking his (third or fourth) political career on the passage of this initiative, and if it doesn’t pass our kids will endure another wave of cuts to education, ultimately sending them the message that education really isn’t a priority.
Proposition 30 is a merger of two previously competing initiatives designed to offset some of the revenue losses due to the past few years of economic contraction in order to fund education with temporary increases in personal income and sales taxes. It is being heavily pushed by Governor Brown in order to save the educational system from mandatory budget decreases estimated at $450.00 per student per year.
Proposition 30 would raise the taxes on everyone earning over $250,000 per year, at various rates which increase as the income increases. These increases would sunset after seven years. The sales tax would be increased by one quarter of one percent and would last four years. The intention is to raise about 6 billion dollars per year in order to offset anticipated cuts. The spending would be allocated 89 percent for K-12 and 11 percent for public colleges.
Since 2008 public education funding has been cut by over 20 billion dollars, bringing California to 47th out of the 50 states in terms of per capita spending on education. It continues a trend now over three decades of cut-backs which have led to dramatically increased classroom sizes, elimination of art and music programs, decreases in school hours, teacher lay-offs, etc. The anticipated shortfalls for this year may lead to severe reductions of school nurses and counselors, elimination of free school transportation, charging for after school programs, reduced funding for educational materials, and aggravation of all the problems listed above.
The state college system has helped to define the choice. The CSU Board of Trustees voted in favor of a 5 percent tuition hike effective in the spring if voters don’t pass Proposition 30. If the measure is passed, the current 9 percent tuition hike would be rescinded, and students would be reimbursed. The UC Regents are considering similar measures.
Proposition 38 is a competing measure which will raise taxes on everyone earning just over $7000 per year on a sliding scale. The taxes would sunset after 12 years. During first four years, 38 allocates 60% of revenues to K–12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, allocates 85% of revenues to K–12 schools, 15% to early childhood programs. 38 is obviously much more regressive than 30. It does guarantee that the money be spent on K-12 education, which is attractive on the face of it, but again really takes from the legislature the flexibility it needs to allocate resources according to the needs of the moment. It’s basically a measure being pushed by billionairess Molly Munger who has her own agenda which is out of touch with the people and organizations who have been working to mitigate these issues against Republican obstructionism and heavy corporate lobby.
Assuming both measures pass, the one with the most votes will prevail over the other. It is essential to vote yes on 30 and no on 38. Do not vote for 38 as a “back up.”