Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Would you be willing to pay an extra $25 a year in order to prevent schools from closing in late April, three weeks earlier than normal? If you are, then you should vote yes on Proposition 30. I’ve been a teacher for 25 years in Manteca Unified, and I’m writing to express my support of Governor Brown’s tax proposal, Prop 30, on the November ballot. Vote yes on Prop 30. You wrote an editorial that supported Proposition 38 over Proposition 30. Both of these propositions would raise taxes in order to fund our schools. I’d like to offer an opposing view and explain my reasoning with facts because there are major differences between the two.
There is one similarity between Prop 30 and Prop 38; they both raise taxes temporarily to help fund schools. That’s where the similarities end. The taxes raised by Prop 38 will last twice as long as the taxes raised by Prop 30.
However, even though taxes are higher under Prop 38, Prop 30 will raise more tax revenue for schools in the next six years. Prop 30 will raise ($38 billion) and Prop 38 will raise ($27 billion), a difference of $11 billion (California Budget Project). Let’s put $11 billion in perspective. That would pay for about 11 weeks of school for every single elementary and high school student in California.
Another difference is who pays the taxes. The rich pay most of the taxes under Prop 30. Under Prop 38, the middle class and poor pay most of the taxes. If you want to save our schools, vote your pocketbook! Under Prop 30, 80% of the taxes would come from income taxes on families making over $500,000. For example, a person with an income of $1 million would pay an additional $9,000 a year in taxes. Some of them have that in their change jar at home. That $9,000 a year would stop schools from losing an additional 15 days of school on top of the 5 school days already lost. The other 20% of the Prop 30 tax money would come from a quarter of one-percent increase in the sales tax. That amounts to about an extra $25 a year for the average Californian (TaxFoundation.org). That’s $25 a year to stop schools from closing at the end of April.
Prop 30. also helps to keep local cops on the beat by raising more money for schools, it frees up money in the state budget for law enforcement. Prop 38 doesn’t do that.
Prop. 38 raises money for k-12 education, but not a penny for community colleges or the California colleges and universities.
If Prop 38 and Prop 30 both pass, the one with the most votes takes effect. So if Prop 38 gets the most votes, schools will still lose 3 weeks of instruction. The reason is that Prop 38 prohibits the new taxes from being used to replace any program or service that was cut prior to November 1, 2012. That means for example, in Manteca Unified, we cannot replace the 15 high school counselors that were cut in 2009. That means we cannot hire back teachers that were laid off in 2009. That means we cannot pay for field trips or classroom supply money that has been cut. And parents? You’ll have to find babysitting services for your kids for an extra three weeks of summer vacation.
If Prop 30 fails, the cut to Manteca Unified alone will be $10 million this year alone.
Oct. 12, 2012