The educational system has been under financial assault from the state year after year. Proposition 30 would provide a brief shield to our public education system from K-12 to community colleges, while indirectly allowing the University of California and California State University systems to have a brief sigh of relief from what could be another cut of $250 million to their budget.
Prop. 30 would increase the state sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent for four years, even though most Los Angelinos are already paying a sales tax of 8.75 percent.
The measure also includes a seven-year temporary income tax hike on earners in the top 3 percent of California. It will create four high-income tax brackets for those whose taxable income is more than $250,000 but less than $300,000 a year, to those with a taxable income of over $1,000,000 per year. Each bracket faces a tax increase starting at 10.3 percent.
Gov. Jerry Brown, an active supporter of Prop. 30, claims this will earn an additional $6 billion for the state’s general fund, but 89 percent of it will go to the state’s K-12 system while the 11 percent will go to community colleges.
Opponents of Prop 30 claim the education distribution is a myth. They provided a study conducted by CalChamber.com, a non-profit organization aimed to help California businesses thrive while complying with laws and regulations. Their study claims up to 50 percent of money spent on education in California never goes into the classroom.
The state education system has been criticized for spending too much on administration and diverting funds from the classroom. Nonetheless, the attorney general’s summary of Prop. 30 says 89 percent of revenues would go to K-12 education and 11 percent would go to community colleges. It is no coincidence that the biggest donor to defeat Prop. 30 happens to be the Small Business Action Committee Pac.
The fear of small businesses comes from the fact that – if the measure passes – California will exceed Hawaii and Oregon in having the highest state income tax rate at 13.3 percent. They claim this will drive high earners and businesses out of the state.
They also believe that the state should focus on cutting wasteful spending instead of increasing taxes.
The problem if Prop. 30 fails is that Gov. Brown signed an earlier bill that will cut $5.9 billion towards education this upcoming fiscal year, leading to higher tuition rates for the UC and CSU system as well as job and program cuts, all across the educational board.
Another problem if this proposition fails is a possible $2.1 billion lawsuit that several counties will face from a variety of administrators and school boards. If passed, this can settle the dispute.
Aside from education, if this measure fails, the Department of Developmental Services, City police Department grants, Department of Fish and Game, Parks and Recreation and local water safety patrol grants will share the million dollar cuts.
It would be in the best interest of our state – of education – if we vote yes on Prop. 30. It will provide much needed temporary financial relief to our educational and other state funded systems.