California Proposition 30 looks to increase taxes to fund education

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If Proposition 30 fails to pass, community colleges in California stand to lose approximately $550 million, California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor for College Finance & Facilities Planning Dan Troy said during a conference call for college newspapers.

Proposition 30 proposes a tax increase for those who earn over $250,000 annually for a duration of seven years, and an increase in sales tax by one quarter of a penny for four years, according to the official voter information guide.

“One of the strong parts of the measure is that it generates $6 billion in the near future for public education and safety in our local communities,” Cosumnes River College President of the Los Rios Colleges Federation of Teachers Jason Newman said.

According to the official voter’s guide, spending reductions which center primarily on education would not occur for 2012-2013 school year if Proposition 30 passes. Besides education, money from Proposition 30 would go to police departments, CalFire and other public safety institutions.

Political science professor Elizabeth Huffman said that Proposition 30 “significantly impacts our ability to provide high quality education at an affordable cost.”

The current state budget is written with the assumption of Proposition 30 passing, according to the official title and summary of Proposition 30.

If Proposition 30 fails, community colleges will face approximately $338 million in automatic reductions, known as trigger cuts, CCC Acting Chancellor Erik Skinner said.

However, if the proposition passes, then not only would these cuts be avoided, but community colleges would gain $210 million through the increased taxes.

“The impact to me seems really well written,” Mike Licciardello, a 30-year-old campus political organizer for the LRCFT and CRC alumnus said. “It would actually be used properly for schools.”

Newman outlined the different scenarios for the Los Rios Community College District regarding Proposition 30.

“If Prop 30 passes, we’re looking at an extra $2 million for our district that won’t be there if Prop 30 does not pass,” Newman said.

Newman explained that this would not be adding any additional courses or students to the college, but that “it will stop us from cutting more classes, that’s the absolute bottom line.”

“Overall in the district we’ll see 600 and perhaps as many as 800 classes cut between now and 2014 if Prop 30 doesn’t pass,” Newman said. “That will be a total of a 15 percent reduction since 2009 in Los Rios.”

Beyond that, Newman said that faculty would be facing a 6 percent decrease in pay starting “in January or February,” and that approximately 20 percent of the student body would be unable to attend school.

Proposition 38 is a competing tax initiative that looks to increase taxes to fund early childhood programs and K-12 schooling, according to the voter’s guide.

Civil rights attorney Molly Munger has opposed Proposition 30 in favor of backing 38 to guarantee money to education. Munger’s initiative would increase taxes incrementally for those filing taxes over $7,316.

Munger’s initiative would generate $10 billion annually and rather than be part of the state budget, the money would go directly to school districts, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Licciardello disagreed with Proposition 38 in favor of Proposition 30. He said that the sliding tax scale would affect everyone, which would only hurt those who need help the most.

Since Propositions 30 and 38 both affect personal income taxes, only one can take affect.

In the event of both propositions passing, whichever gets more “yes” votes will go into effect.

In the event that both pass and Proposition 38 gets more votes, then community colleges would still face trigger cuts.

“[Proposition 38] doesn’t do anything for higher education,” Licciardello said. “It’s only shooting people in the foot by not supporting their educational goals.”

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