I've personally seen the impact of $18 billion in statewide cuts in my classroom. Furlough days have been implemented, department budgets have been decimated and important services for students have been eliminated. California ranks near the bottom in per pupil spending and has the highest average class size. Proposition 30 is a reasonable and logical effort to address critical needs in public education and public safety.
Proposition 30 would increase income taxes for seven years on top income earners, by 1 percent on single filers making $250,000, 2 percent at $300,000 and 3 percent at $1 million. It would increase the sales tax for the next five years, about one cent on a $4 hamburger. Proposition 30 would cost a person making $50,000 a year an extra $62.50, and those making $100,000 a year an extra $125.
The non-partisan Legislative Analyst estimates the state would receive $7 to 9 billion in income the first year, with ongoing income of $5 to 7 billion a year. The taxpayer is protected since revenue will be placed in a special fund legislators cannot touch — with annual mandatory independent audits to assure funds are spent on education and public safety.
The revenue from Prop. 30 is already factored into the state budget. If it's defeated, there will be about $6 billion more in trigger cuts to education and public safety in this year's budget alone. We cannot cut our way to quality education.
Is Proposition 30 a fair tax? Absolutely. The top 1 percent has received over half of the income growth over the last decade, but is still paying the lowest rate of all income brackets in the state. Corporate tax receipts have declined as a percent of state GDP over the past decades. Proposition 30 assures that the wealthiest among us pay at least as much as the rest of us in state taxes.
The years of failed "trickle-down" economics have brought our state to the breaking point. We need to take the moral stand of reinvesting in schools, communities and essential services, and closing the state's deficit. Vote "yes" on Proposition 30 before more schools are cut and more public safety services are eliminated.
Galt High School teacher and president of the Galt Federation of Certificated and Classified Employees