Editorial: Proposition 30 is a saving grace for community colleges

It is well known that the budgets of California colleges have been declining since the recession hit in 2007.But there is something we can do to stop that downward spiral.A yes vote on Proposition 30 is a yes vote for yourself and for the future of community colleges.By raising the state sales tax a quarter of a penny and income taxes on those who make over $250,000 annually, Proposition 30 would raise $210 million for community colleges alone and would stop the $338 million in trigger cuts.Opponents say that Proposition 30 has no guarantee that the money raised will be spent on education, but the fact is, that is simply not true.

According to the official voter information guide, the money raised for schools will be put into a special fund that the legislature cannot touch or use for state bureaucracy. In addition, mandatory annual audits will be made public and insure that the funds are spent only on schools.

Recently, Proposition 38 supporters have tried to convince voters that this is the bill that needs to pass because it ensures money for education.

What they don’t tell you is that Proposition 38 is the death of community colleges and only funds K-12 schools.

In the grand scheme of things, Proposition 38 does nothing for public safety, California colleges or jobs. It also increases income taxes on annual earnings of $7,316, where Proposition 30 only taxes the wealthiest Californians who make more than $250,000.

Compared to Proposition 38, Proposition 30’s tax increases are so minimal, yet do so much good for our schools, our public safety and our state.

As Bill Clinton would say, “you do the arithmetic.”

The Passage of Proposition 30 would allow 20,000 new students to attend college. While this may not seem like much, it is godsend when you take a look at the numbers over the past three years.

In those three years, community colleges have cut $809 million, 12 percent of funding overall, enrollment has dropped 17 percent and 70 percent of colleges have reduced the number of courses they offer, according to a survey conducted by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

If Proposition 30 does not pass, those numbers will only get worse. In addition to all those cuts, many colleges would have to cut staff members, mostly part-time employees.
These employees are essential to running an effective college. These are our school nurses, janitors and professors.

Not only does Proposition 30 help colleges, it would also do wonders for public safety.

The initiative guarantees funding for public safety services, like police and fire departments. Like the education fund, the money for public safety cannot be touched by the legislature. In fact, Proposition 30 is the only proposal that establishes a guarantee for public safety funding.

Unfortunately, Proposition 30 and 38 are written so both cannot pass, whichever receives the most “yes” votes will be put into effect.

If you feel like we do at The Connection, the choice is simple: Proposition 30 does more to help  California and its colleges.

In the words of our student senate president Rich Copenhagen, “no one can afford to have Prop 30 not pass.”