California voters face financial choice on Proposition 30

Angelica Estacio
Staff writer

A decision that will help shape the future of Las Positas College and other California schools will be in the hands of voters this upcoming national election.

The decision to be voted upon, besides who will occupy the most powerful position in the country, is Governor Jerry Brown’s $50 billion tax initiative, Proposition 30.

The governor’s proposition is one of two options that Californians are offered to help put an end to the decline of educational funds in the state by increasing tax rates.

However, there are two competing tax measures on this year’s ballot. Proposition 30 and its rival Proposition 38.

The former will be the only one covering community colleges such as LPC.

If it passes, Proposition 30 may help LPC bounce back from the effects of recent budget cuts. Proposition 38 would provide no additional funding to LPC.

“Proposition 30 is an opportunity for the people themselves to not only fix California, but to send a message to the rest of the country that we as a people can invest together in our schools, our community colleges,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Gov. Brown while campaigning at UCLA on Oct 16.

Proposition 30 is the combination of two different tax increase initiatives proposed early this year.

Taking from the governor’s previous Brown Tax Hike initiative, Proposition 30 will increase sales tax by a quarter percent.

And from the Millionaire’s Tax initiative, Proposition 30 will raise personal income tax on annual individual earnings over $250,000.

The revenue for these tax hikes, which are estimated to be between $6 billion to $9 billion a year, will be divided mainly for educational purposes.

In California’s official voter’s guide for this year’s election, Proposition 30’s summary declares that 89 percent of such projected revenue will be given to K-12 schools while the remaining 11 percent will go to community colleges.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a $5.5 billion set of predetermined cuts is foreseen if Proposition 30 does not pass.

These cuts are expected to be mostly affecting the state’s already declining budget for education.

If this happens, schools of all levels might start seeing further program eliminations and faculty personnel layoffs.

“After all you’ve been through in California, that’s why you ought to vote for Proposition 30,” former President Bill Clinton said during a Democratic rally in UC Davis early this month.

Many political spectators, however, are not convinced.

“Proposition 30 will tax every Californian. It’s a double whammy—a sales tax and an income tax,” Lawrence Samuels of The Salinas Californian wrote in his Oct. 16. opinion piece.

“Many Californians will see their income taxes could rise by 32 percent, including many of California’s 3.8 million small businesses which file taxes as individuals, not corporations.”

But endorsements for the proposition remain strong from various other news organizations, academic administrations, and public service associations.

“We are reluctant to recommend raising any taxes during this plodding economic recovery. But the state of our schools, now near the bottom nationally in per-pupil funding, places California at risk,” the San Jose Mercury News published last month.

“Proposition 30 is no substitute for long-term reforms in education funding, pensions and other areas, but it is a measured and sensible response to this crisis.”

If Proposition 30 passes, it will be retroactive to income from the beginning of the year.

This means that the new tax rate will be applied to all income received starting Jan. 1 and will be effective for seven years.

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