Gov. Jerry Brown Monday warned that failure to pass his tax measure in November will result in “devastating cuts” to the state’s education system that will mean “we don’t have a future.”
“‘Yes’ will invest in our schools,” Brown said in a campaign speech at San Diego City College on the first day of classes. “ ‘No’ results in devastating cuts.”
Proposition 30 would temporarily increase sales taxes and raise income taxes on higher-income residents. Brown said the measure to help finance education from kindergarten through community college provides voters a clear choice.
“If we don’t invest in our schools, don’t invest in our colleges, we don’t have a future,” he said.
The ballot measure would increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and raise income taxes on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years.
“We’re asking those who’ve been most fortunate, who’ve done the best, to give back just a little bit, to share so that our schools don’t get cut back,” Brown said.
Officials say 89 percent of the revenues from Proposition 30 would be devoted to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and the other 11 percent to community colleges. The measure would also guarantee funding for public safety services shifted from state to local governments.
Proposition 30 would generate an additional $6 billion in state tax revenues from the 2012-2013 through 2016-17 fiscal years, according to an estimate from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos. Smaller amounts would be generated in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years.
“Proposition 30 on the November ballot is going to be a critical moment for all of us,” said Constance M. Carroll, San Diego Community College District chancellor. “We need to begin building those classes back.”
Carroll warned that if the measure fails, “Our district will be forced by the California Legislature to reduce another 7,000 classes. Another 20,000 students would be turned away.”
Professor William Steward of SDCC said there “is no place left to cut. Prop. 30 is going to stop this tragic process of cutting at all costs.”
Jim King, a Ramona Unified School District groundskeeper for 35 years, said schools in his district are in deplorable shape, having cut back 25 percent of classified employees the past four years.
“Students don’t deserve this,” he said. “My kids don’t deserve this. My grandkids don’t deserve this. We’re asking you as voters to step up and pass Prop. 30 to put the schools back on track.”
If the measure is rejected by the voters, “trigger cuts” would be made to the state budget.
Brown has called Proposition 30 “modest, fair and temporary.”
“It won’t solve all of the state’s problems, but it will help dig us out of a deep hole and protect our schools until the recovery is complete,” Brown said in May as he presented his revised state budget proposal.
John Kabateck, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business/California, said earlier that the initiative’s “huge tax increases will destroy our small businesses and cost us jobs.”
“This measure simply gives the politicians in Sacramento more tax money to spend on pet projects, like pensions and the high-speed train to nowhere,” Kabateck said.
A second measure that would increase taxes to help finance education will also be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Proposition 38 would increase personal income tax rates for 12 years for annual earnings over $7,316 using a sliding scale from 0.4 percent for the lowest individual earners to 2.2 percent for individuals earning more than $2.5 million.
During the first four years, 60 percent of revenues would go to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, 30 percent to repaying state debt and 10 percent to early childhood programs. Thereafter, 85 percent of revenues would go to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and 15 percent to early childhood programs.
If both measures are approved by voters, the one getting the most yes votes would prevail.
-City News Service