|Ray Gaer, president of the ABC Federation of Teachers, helps launch the back-to-school portion of the Yes on Prop 30 campaign with Governor Jerry Brown in Hawthorne, at Ramona Elementary School. Cindy Ensworth photo|
Proposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act, is on the November 6 ballot. Along with Proposition 32, it is the most important issue facing California voters among the many ballot measures.
State budget cuts to public education funding, totaling $20 billion over the past four years, have taken a terrible toll on our ability to deliver the education our students need and deserve. Prop 30 will raise $9 billion in the first year, and $6 billion a year for six years after that, for public education and other services. It will also provide constitutional approval for the governor’s realignment of funding for local public safety services while protecting Proposition 98 school funding.
Prop 30 would increase income tax rates on individual incomes in excess of a quarter million dollars per year, and modestly increase the state sales tax by ¼ cent, to provide desperately needed revenues to rebuild our schools and services.
It is a progressive tax measure, with 90% of the revenues coming from wealthy taxpayers, and the other 10% from the small increase in the state sales tax.
Prop 30 will begin to restore cuts to school programs devastated by years of recession. It will also prevent another $5 billion in “trigger cuts” scheduled to kick in January 1, 2013, if Prop 30 fails to pass.
Proposition 32, a measure appearing on the November statewide ballot, is not what it seems. While it claims to be about “stopping special interests” the measure actually exempts corporate special interests and Super PACs from its proposed rules. Instead, Prop 32 would give even more power to the wealthy and well-connected to influence elections, control government and weaken our state’s middle class, while drastically reducing the ability of unions to represent their members and address workers’ needs through the political process.
The millionaire backers of Prop 32 misleadingly call it “The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act,” claiming it would rein in campaign contributions by both unions and corporations. In fact, the deceptive wording of the initiative specifically limits the voice of union members like teachers and school employees, as well as nurses, firefighters and police.
This one-sided measure would make our post-“Citizens United” political system even more unbalanced. It does nothing to stop the flow of money from the wealthy in politics. According to non-partisan research, corporations already outspend unions in the political process by a margin of 15 -1.