by Ellen Wheeler
When people hear that I am a member of the League of Women Voters of California they always smile and say “I love how the League analyzes ballot initiatives! I love how they give recommendations on ballot initiatives! I feel like I can trust their recommendations.”
This November people are being asked to vote on Governor Brown’s tax initiative (Proposition 30) and, as always, they ask what the League recommends. They particularly want to know how Prop. 30 will help (or hurt) schools.
The League recommends a YES vote on Prop. 30 because "it begins to move California toward financial stability and adequate funding for all the services we want from our government." (from LWVC website)
I am voting YES on Prop. 30 because I believe it will help schools now and in the long run. Not only will it help schools, it will help all programs in our state budget because the money it raises will be shared with lots of programs that would be cut otherwise. Programs such as mental health, colleges, child care, public safety, and the courts will be helped by Prop. 30. And, traditional public schools will be helped. In fact, if Prop. 30 does not pass, not only will those other services be cut drastically, schools will be cut over $400 per student!
How would schools manage with a budget where they get $400 less per student? We’ve already heard that many schools would cut their school year by up to 20 days. 20 days! How can our children get even an adequate education if their school year is 20 days shorter? When we should be investing in education for the world ahead, and our graduates are competing with students from Singapore, Finland, and other high performing educational systems, how is it that we should willingly cut 20 days from our school year?
You may remember that many months ago there were five tax initiatives being proposed for this November’s election. One of them was the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax.” This tax was going to start raising taxes on people earning more than $250,000 a year, particularly millionaires. This tax polled real well among us non-millionaires, and it was supported by teachers. Why am I giving you this history lesson? Well, Governor Brown and the backers of the Millionaire’s Tax decided to join forces and combine their initiatives. Now Governor Brown’s initiative includes this Millionaire’s Tax and also uses his original idea of having everyone share in temporarily raising money for schools, colleges, mental health, child care, public safety, the courts, etc., by having a ¼ cent rise in the state sales tax. Now a well-rounded group of supporters including teachers, school superintendents, colleges, nurses, public safety workers and many, many more are asking that we vote YES on Prop. 30.
The League of Women Voters of California thinks this shows a sensible shared responsibility and recommends we vote YES on Proposition 30. In fact, LWVC believes so strongly in this measure that we signed the ballot argument. This is the only tax measure the League is recommending on this ballot.
To see the entire “Vote with the League” list of ballot propositions, please visit www.ca.lwvc.org.