CA Proposition 30, and Why I’m Voting Yes On It (and Why You Should, Too)

If you live in California, and anywhere near a university, you’ve likely heard about Proposition 30.  If not, here’s info from Ballotpedia:

Proposition 30, a Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative, is on the November 6, 2012 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment.[1]

Gov. Jerry Brown is leading the charge for Proposition 30, which is a merger of two previously competing initiatives; the “Millionaire’s Tax” and Brown’s First Tax Increase Proposal.[2]

Provisions of Proposition 30 include:

  • Raises California’s sales tax to 7.5% from 7.25%, a 3.45% percentage increase over current law. (Under the Brown Tax Hike, the sales tax would have increased to 7.75%)[3][4]
  • Creates four high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000. This increased tax will be in effect for 7 years.[3][5][6]
  • Imposes a 10.3% tax rate on taxable income over $250,000 but less than $300,000–a percentage increase of 10.6% over current policy of 9.3%. The 10.3% income tax rate is currently only paid by taxpayers with over $1,000,000 in taxable income.[7].
  • Imposes an 11.3% tax rate on taxable income over $300,000 but less than $500,000–a percentage increase of 21.5% over current policy of 9.3%.
  • Imposes a 12.3% tax rate on taxable income over $500,000 up to $1,000,000–a percentage increase of 32.26% over current policy of 9.3%.
  • Imposes a 13.3% tax rate on taxable income over $1,000,000–a percentage increase of 29.13% over current “millionaires tax” policy of 10.3%.
  • If this proposition is passed in November, 2012, the income tax will apply retroactively to all income earned or received since the first of the year (1 January, 2012).
  • Based on California Franchise Tax Board data for 2009[8], the additional income tax is imposed on the top 3% of California taxpayers.

Estimated revenue from Proposition 30 vary from Jerry Brown’s $9 billion estimate to the $6.8 billion estimated by the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office (LAO).[9]. The difference stem for the volatility caused by capital gains income from high-income earners, an issue in California’s tax system previously identified by the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO).[10]

***

To be fair, I should note that those opposed to Prop. 30 argue that there is not enough language in the legislation to guarantee the generated funds go towards helping education.  They argue the Prop. does nothing to streamline inefficient bureaucracies and eliminate waste.  From my research, these things seem to be true.  You’re rarely going to find a Prop. that does everything we want it to do.  Legislation that helps the people at the expense of the wealthy typically doesn’t make it very far due to…you guessed it, lack of funding.  If you look at the supporters of Prop. 30, you’ll see that it has been financially supported by various corporations and unions.  But the largest donors are California teacher and state employee organizations.

To put it simply, there is no way to effectively get California out of debt without raising taxes.  Cutting spending certainly helps, but we need to be aware of where we’re making those cuts.  Slashing education instead of moderately raising the taxes of California’s largest earners seems pretty silly.

If Prop. 30 is voted down, a planned $6 billion in education cuts will go through and tuition for California colleges and universities will go up once again, adding to the difficulties of students all over the state who are just trying to get through their schooling. If Prop. 30 passes, students are slated to receive an actual rebate for their tuition.  The universities will actually cut checks to their students.

Prop. 30 is far from perfect, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.  It helps to start getting our public university and community college system back to health.  The last four years have seen $20 billion cut from education, and $250 million more will be cut from higher education if Prop. 30 fails.  Even if it’s only because California public education can’t take any more cuts, I’m voting Yes on Prop. 30.  As both a student of a Cal State University and an Instructor at a Cal State University, I can tell you that cuts in education are truly felt at the lowest level.

The Facts on Prop. 30 from the California Faculty Association (CFA) HERE.

LA Times article on student involvement on Prop. 30 HERE.

(sadly, erasers are NOT currently provided in many CSU classrooms)

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2 Responses to CA Proposition 30, and Why I’m Voting Yes On It (and Why You Should, Too)

  1. Avid Reader says:

    Thanks for the info.! I was going to look up the propositions soon…to try to get informed before I vote :)

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