Schools have reached the breaking point throughout California. We’ve faced annual budget cuts since 2008.
In Castro Valley, we have fewer counselors supporting students at Creekside, Canyon, Redwood and CVHS. All sports funding has been cut. Elementary class and high school class sizes are the largest they’ve been in decades. School employees have less time to work with kids, because their hours have been cut as a cost-saving measure.
In 2009 alone, Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Democratic-controlled Legislature cut $9.3 billion dollars in education spending. These cuts hurt children, families and communities.
Proposition 30 – the Schools & Local Public Safety Protection Act – temporarily raises taxes on wealthy Californians and increases the sales tax by a quarter cent.
What’s good about Proposition 30?
- Raises revenue to address shortfalls, instead of cutting services for children
- 78.8% of new revenue comes from taxpayers with annual incomes over $532,000
- Prevents $6 billion in mid-year “trigger cuts”
What’s bad about Proposition 30?
- Won’t raise enough money to restore cuts from previous years
- Sales tax is a regressive tax that disproportionately impacts low-income families
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has written: “Economic theory and evidence gives a clear and unambiguous answer: It is economically preferable to raise taxes on those with high incomes than to cut state expenditures.”
Stiglitz has gone on to say: “Every dollar of state and local government spending enters the local economy right away, generating a greater economic impact [than tax cuts]. The impact is especially large when the money goes for salaries of teachers, policemen and firemen, doctors and nurses and others that provide vital services to our communities.”
Proposition 30 is the right measure on the ballot to protect vital services like public education and it’s the right course of action to take during a recession. It keeps our heads above water while parents, teachers and community figure out the next steps to fully fund public education in California.
(Like many teachers in California, I am abstaining from Proposition 38, another school funding measure. I appreciate the hard work of the Parent Teacher Association to put this measure on the ballot. Raising the income tax by 20% across the board is a bitter pill to swallow though and Proposition 38 won’t support community colleges or public universities which is unfortunate.)