Proposition 55, known as the California Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act, is on this November’s ballot. The measure will extend the amount of time the high income tax on Californian’s who make more than $250,000 a year is implemented. If passed, the revenue made from this tax will be allocated to education and health care. This will not only affect those being taxed, but will also impact public K-12 schools and also community colleges, including the entire CSU system.
California Faculty Association President Jennifer Eagan and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Cal State Fullerton alumnus, discussed what the proposition entails and how schools in the state of California survive with the revenue generated from the tax.
Proposition 55 is based on the continuation of an income tax passed in 2012 under Proposition 30, which instituted a rise in the income tax for Californians with a single income of at least $263,000 or a joint income of around $526,000 each year.
If passed again under Proposition 55, the same rule will apply to those with that income and would be extended for another 12 years until the year 2030.
“The measure will generate an estimated $4 to $9 billion in revenue each year to public K-12 schools and community colleges in California by temporarily extending a tax on the wealthiest in the state for 12 more years,” Eagan said.
The proposition would generate 89 percent of the revenue for K-12 schools while the remaining 11 percent would go towards supporting community colleges in California.
If the tax is extended, the CSU system wouldn’t receive any direct funding or revenue from the tax. The way California State Universities could possibly receive funds would be from money freed up in the general fund.
“Without it, the CSU could lose an estimated $250 million per year from its base budget,” Eagan said.
Student populations in the CSU system rose by around 150,000 people between 1985 and 2015. But the CSU budget had declined by 2.9 percent in real dollars during that 30-year span.
Lack of funding “impacts class sizes, impacts budgets, impacts staffing levels…,” Rendon said.
Although there still isn’t a direct “connection” of the tax with the large CSU system, cutting state spending would come into play.
“The Cal State budget is funded by the general fund and if we have to cut overall spending, then that will certainly affect the Cal State system,” Rendon said. “The Cal State system is the largest public university system in the country and it’s respected for the quality of education it provides, for the quality of its graduates.”
The opposition to the proposition argues the tax passed back in 2012 was only supposed to be temporary and claims it “rips off” taxpayers to fund special interests.
“…It’s a continuation of a revenue generator that voters passed a few years ago. This is asking to extend that tax, doing so in the same manner in which the first tax was passed,” Rendon said.
Some oppositions to the proposition argued that the legislature needs to find a longer term solution to the problem with the budget and its overall impact with education.