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CTA Backs Ballot Measure to Extend Proposition 30

October 29, 2015

 

(Editor’s note: The California Teachers Association voted this week to endorse a statewide ballot measure that would extend Proposition 30 – the 2012 ballot measure that temporarily raised sales tax rates and increased some income taxes to prevent further cuts in state funding for education. At the time, Gov. Jerry Brown stressed that the tax increases in Proposition 30 were temporary. Now a number of education stakeholder groups have qualified new ballot measure that will be on the ballot in November 2016, which would extend Proposition 30’s income tax increases through 2030, for couples making more than $500,000 a year. Proponents estimate the initiative would generate between $7 billion and $9 billion dollars annually. The proposed Proposition 30 extension would not renew the sales tax increase that was contained in Proposition 30, which will automatically expire next year. The following article is a press release from the California Teachers Association outlining the political argument that CTA is making in favor of the proposed Proposition 30 extension.)

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To protect California’s lean public school funding and keep the state budget balanced, the California Teacher Association’s top governing body of teacher delegates voted on October 25 to endorse a vital new ballot measure that would temporarily extend voter-approved Proposition 30’s income tax increases on the wealthiest income earners.

The Alliance for a Better California coalition, of which CTA is a part of, began the campaign for the School Funding and Budget Stability Act measure in September by submitting the ballot measure language to the state Attorney General’s Office. The CTA State Council of Education, comprised of nearly 800 democratically-elected educator delegates, officially backed the initiative during its quarterly meeting here.

The Alliance of labor, school, community and public safety groups is strongly committed to collecting enough signatures to getting the initiative on the November 2016 ballot and passing it, said CTA President Eric Heins.

“Proposition 30 has been vital to healing the bleeding from the devastating cuts that schools and colleges suffered during the recent recession,” Heins said. “By temporarily extending the critical revenues from the higher income tax rates in Proposition 30, we can help keep our state budget balanced, protect our schools and colleges from losing billions in revenue, and prevent cuts that would hurt seniors and working families. What’s more, this initiative frees up state general fund money to allow the state to invest more in higher education, healthcare and essential public services.”

Approved by voters in 2012 in part to halt catastrophic education cuts, Prop. 30 generates from $8 billion to $9 billion a year and has so far provided more than $24 billion for California’s classrooms. The Prop. 30 income tax rate increases for the wealthy expire in 2019, but would be extended for 12 years by the new ballot measure. The quarter-cent sales tax increase enacted by Prop. 30 would expire as planned at the end of 2016.

California ranks 46th in per-pupil funding, according to an Education Week study released earlier this year that’s based on 2012 data. Studies vary, but the state consistently has among the largest class sizes, and the fewest counselors, librarians and nurses per student.

The School Funding and Budget Stability Act would also:

  1. Continue the higher income tax rates on couples earning more than $500,000 a year for 12 years, with all revenue continuing to go into a state Education Protection Account. Funds from the account are only used for education-related needs, such as helping students by reducing class sizes, updating textbooks, and hiring new teachers.
  2. Prohibit the Legislature from redirecting any of the funds toward bureaucracy, administrative costs, or budget reserves.
  3. Maintain strict accountability provisions in Prop. 30, including annual audits by the state. The State Controller provides data about where the money is now spent at www.trackprop30.ca.gov. School districts and colleges must post on their websites how funds are spent.
  4. Help balance the state budget with built-in flexibility that allows for state general fund relief of between $4 billion and $5 billion.

During the recession, California cut more than $56 billion from education, healthcare and other vital state and local services, triggering tens of thousands of teacher layoffs, increased school class sizes, higher college tuition fees, and reduced essential public services. State budget deficits wreaked havoc, CTA President Heins said.

“Projections from the California Department of Finance have shown that we could see a return of budget deficits in the near future without an extension of the Prop. 30 tax rates on the wealthiest Californians,” Heins noted.

“We would once again run the severe risk of our public schools and critical services being slashed. For the sake of our students, seniors, communities and working families, we can’t afford not to pass the School Funding and Budget Stability Act.”

Source:  California Teachers Association



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