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Nancy Heaps: Munger suggests we all ‘cough up a little more’

Posted: May 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

As a longtime Santa Clarita resident, a mom who has raised children in local public schools and an active PTA member who has worked hard to bring programs to schools that enrich children’s school experience, I thought I would see for myself what the Our Children, Our Future initiative was all about.

The California State PTA has written this initiative that organizers hope to get on the November ballot to raise $10 billion annually for education. When I read the initiative, I was both hurt and outraged — especially considering all of the time, resources and heart I have put into the PTA for more than 13 years. It’s both personal (my family is certainly targeted and demonized) and presumptive (“the people who are most able to afford it” will pay — how dare they make this assumption), and misleading (because the new taxes are staggering for almost all California taxpayers).

The system is broken. The overzealous and overreaching teacher’s union has created laws that not only protect bad teachers — including child molesters — but forces districts to give pink slips to some of the best teachers simply because they have less experience. We need someone to be vocal about fixing the unfunded $64.5 billion liability for the California Teacher’s pension fund. The vocal among us, however, always seem to want to throw more money at the broken system.

Recently, I attended the PTA brunch where Molly Munger spoke of the need to pass Our Children, Our Future, or OCOF. Munger spoke of the sliding scale of new taxes that is in the initiative that asks the wealthiest 1 percent to pay the most, but that we all would need to “cough up a little more” too.

A “little more?” Really? Please go to the OCOF website and look at the new taxes chart; individuals with income after deductions of $75,000 per year would pay $83 more per year to the State of California. Individuals with income after deductions of $125,000 per year would pay $1,625 more per year; $250,000 in income would pay $3,875 more, etc.

Perhaps someone who lacks the perspective of hard-working families in Santa Clarita and elsewhere does not understand how “coughing up a little more” will affect our families.

And all of these “clear, transparent, enforceable dollars” would go straight to the classroom, right? Well, not exactly. During the first four years, according to the OCOF website, $12 billion (30 percent of all revenues collected) will be spent on the State Education bond debt. They could have called the initiative “Servicing the State Education Bond Debt,” but it lacks the heartfelt appeal.

I agree that education needs to be a top priority in the hierarchy of services that the state provides. It is shameful that our state ranks 47th nationally in what we invest to educate each student, but this is not due to the fact that we pay too little in taxes.

If someone would come up with a plan that truly looked to solve the problems that have caused this mess in the first place, I might feel like we were truly “all in this together.” But until then, I will work to defeat Munger’s plan or any tax hike that does not address the underlying problems.

Nancy Heaps is a Valencia resident.

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