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Proposition 30, 38: Supporters Duel Over Tax Increase Measures

Voters have two approaches to weigh in deciding whether to approve higher taxes to fund California schools. Tell us which one you prefer, if either, in our poll.

The biggest test is fast approaching for two ballot measures designed to help state schools by raising taxes, but it will be up to voters this November to decide which proposition will pass or fail.

Propositions 30 and 38 have been the subject of much debate statewide.

Proposition 30, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would raise the sales tax by one-quarter of one cent for four years while increasing personal income taxes for Californians who earn over $250,000 for seven years.

Those who support it, like the California Teachers’ Association, argue its failure would have a devastating impact on schools, including in Los Angeles, according to Frank Wells, spokesman for the California Teachers’ Association’s Santa Fe Springs office.

“Schools have already undergone massive cuts over the past several years leading to larger classes, thousands of layoffs, and a shortened school year in many places,” Wells said. Prop 30's failure would "mean a $236 million cut to LAUSD.”

Prop 38 has been primarily financed by Pasadena attorney Molly Munger. The proposal, supported by California PTA which worked with Munger on the measure, aims to increase personal income taxes using a sliding scale, with a single filer earning as little as $17,346 per year, for example, seeing higher taxes, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

Scott Folsom, vice president of the California PTA’s 10th District which covers Los Angeles County, said Prop 38 makes the most sense.

“It’s really the only initiative on the ballot that brings new funding to schools,” Folsom said. “The money Prop 38 raises is not disbursed by Sacramento. It’s decided at the local school site. The money goes directly to schools.”

However, the PTA’s official stance is it will not necessarily encourage Prop 38 supporters to vote against Prop 30, he said.

“The state PTA has looked at and decided to take no position on it,” Folsom said. “We’re asking our members to carefully look at Proposition 30 and make up your own mind.”

The PTA nonetheless sees some problems with Proposition 30.

“It doesn’t bring new money to the schools, and if it doesn’t pass, it reduces money,” Folsom said. “It doesn’t solve the problem schools are in now. If it fails, it cuts funding. It’s the reverse of bringing money to the schools.”

Prop 30 backers are playing hard ball. Supporters of Gov. Brown have started a committee called Stop the Middle Class Tax Hike - No on Prop. 38 to oppose the plan. For her part, Munger has funded a TV advertising campaign against Proposition 30, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

A “yes” vote on Prop 30 means “the new tax revenues would be available to fund programs in the state budget,” according to California's official Voter Information Guide. A "no" vote means state budget cuts, which would primarily impact education programs, would take effect in 2012 to 2013.

According to the guide, a "yes" vote on Prop 38 means personal income tax rates would guarantee new funding to restore budget cuts and improve educational results. A "no" vote would mean no additional revenue from the measure would be available for schools, child care, preschool, and state debt payments.

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education voted to support both ballot initiatives, saying both measures would provide “urgently needed funding for public education,” according to the board's website.

LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer, who represents Board District Four, said the most important thing to remember over the next few weeks is who will be most impacted by the voters' decisions.

“For the next month, our children deserve for us to turn our attention towards the November ballot,” Zimmer said by email. “Every family touched by public education is impacted by the draconian cuts to our schools. The next 28 days offer us a rare opportunity to come together and work together on behalf of our children, their teachers and our school communities.”

If both propositions pass, the measure with the most "yes" votes would go into effect, according to the California Legislative Analyst's office.

To see more information on the major propositions up for vote in November, go to the MapLight voter guide.

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Nelson M October 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM
No on 30 No on 38 No to any prop that will cost taxpayer's money. No to more taxes. Let them learn how to budget and not try to manipulate and scare voters that this is for education. A teacher who really loves their work can inspire and get results on a shoe string budget. These measures are nothing more than a shake down of taxpayers to help fund pensions. Funny how they want you to ante up but none of them can tighten their belts and take pay cuts. If anything they are going for it all so they can get their fat pensions when they retire. But don't worry some of their students might get hired by one of their former teachers to work as their housekeeper. If you are lucky they might even take you along on one of their luxury cruises to help with their bags. Say No to the politicians and all public employees who forget that they are suppose to be serving the greater good of the people of this state, not their own personal interest.
Michael Austin October 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I am against all tax increases, especially for schools, because of teacher tenure. There are a large number of non performing teachers with tenure. Get rid of those non performing teachers, a tax increase becomes unnecessary.
Sharon Sanders October 12, 2012 at 03:59 AM
NO NO NO more tax increases and NO NO NO more money for schools. Schools get most of the budget now. We pay their insurance and for their pensions but their students can barely read or add a column of numbers. Teachers and their unions scream when 1 cent is taken from them but our roads are crumbling while Sacramento steals from the transportation budget. Forget it!!!
Serious October 13, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Nelson, I agree with you: No on 38. But to say "No to any prop that will cost taxpayer's (sic) money" is to not understand the long term costs and implications of knee-jerk voting "no" on any such ballot proposition. It will cost us much more in jobs, industry, and public safety costs immediately and in the long run if we vote no propositions like Prop 30. Prop 30 is DIRELY needed because school budgets from kindergarten all the way up to community colleges and universities have been slashed and they will lose another $6 billion dollars in 2013 if Prop 30 is not passed, further plummeting California's educational system to the very bottom. Yes on Prop 30! -Local voter who has read and studied the propositions
Serious October 13, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Yes on Prop 32 and No on Prop 38. Prop 30 provides the direly needed funding for K-12 schools and keeps jobs. *CA schools only spend $700/student/year, as opposed to over $1000/student/year 10 years ago, putting California in 47th place on per pupil spending It would also meet the budget shortfall in the General Fund by taxing only the personal income of people who make $250K or more. This would also fund community colleges and public universities, which have seen their budgets fall drastically and tuition rise at astronomic rates. *Prop 30 would stop the further backwards slide of our great community college and public university system, thus creating more jobs and strenthening our economy. YES ON PROP 30! NO ON PROP 38, which doesn't meet CA's budget shortfall, putting us further in the hole.
alex aguilar October 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM
that anyone (i'm talking to all you who can't see past your own luxuries and noses out there) can look at the decrepit state of our (southern california's) public schools and still say "NO NO NO MORE MONEY FOR THEM" is probably because those people attended our public schools and they are a product and testament of how completely desperately we need to give these schools everything we have to spare and re-evaluate our damn priorities. why do los angeles county schools continually end up on "worst schools in california/america" lists? is it cause those evil moneyhungry public servants we call teachers are too busy counting their cash to teach our children? maybe it's because our school districts can only afford teachers who'll accept the shittiest pay, whom are usually shitty teachers or saints, and i know for a fact there are a heck of a lot more shitty teachers than saints out there, having attended these schools myself.
Milan Moravec October 20, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Create California’s future. Vote No on Prop 30, 38, 32. Keep the California dream alive and well. Decisions you make on Nov 6 determine California’s course for years. We are kidding ourselves by believing that education funding shortfalls disappear with Prop 30, Prop 38. Prop 30, Prop 38 levy significant taxes on each one of us. The wounds that Prop 30, 38 are to heal have been self inflicted largely by our elected Sacramento politicians who simply do not say no to any influential interest group be they, University of California (29% increase in salaries last 6 years), public employees, business, teachers, or other unions or lobbyists. And now Prop 30, 38 are used by Sacramento politicians and lobbyists to blackmail us

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