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Our View: Vote no on state propositions 30 and 38

Posted: October 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Proposition 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. NO

Proposition 30, commonly known as the Brown tax proposal, would raise the California statewide sales tax to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent.

Since Los Angeles County’s sales tax rate is currently 8.75 percent, it would raise the local rate to 9 percent.

The measure would also create three new high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000 and $500,000.

The income tax hike would affect the top 3 percent of California earners, according to the state Franchise Tax Board, and would be in effect seven years. The sales tax hike would be in effect four years.

Eighty-nine percent of temporary tax revenues would go to K-12 schools, 11 percent to community colleges.

As much as we would like to endorse a solution to the problem of slumping state of California school financing, we can’t in clear conscience approve a proposal that’s a case study of why California is in the mess it’s already in.

Public education having been made the scapegoat of decades of poor planning and spending in Sacramento,

Brown’s solution is more tax and spend. That’s not the answer; the answer is an overhaul of California’s state spending plan, currently a hodge-podge of redundancy, bad decision-making and failed oversight.

What California needs is not more taxes; it’s to take a deep breath and go back to the drawing board of state spending, recognizing that the Golden State’s heyday of excessive revenue ground to a halt some time ago.

The governor needs not to lobby for more taxes, but to put together a blue ribbon panel of realists who can study what works in other states and revamp our own spending plan to make California more business and thus jobs-friendly, rein in expenses and invest money where people want it put — in education, for example — not in boondoggle high-speed rail scams. Unrealizable obligation to government employees is among this state’s biggest problems; it’s no surprise the list of supporters for this tax-hike proposal is an alphabet soup of mostly government-employee labor unions: the AFT, CTA, CSEA and CFT, as well as the SEIU and the California Democratic Party.

Proposition 38: Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs. NO

This measure would increase state income tax on a sliding scale for everyone making more than $7,316 annually, with a 0.4 percent increase for those on the lowest end of the scale and a 2.2 percent increase for those on the highest end.

The tax hike would end after 12 years. During the first year after it takes effect, 60 percent of revenue would go to K-12 schools, 30 percent toward repaying state debt, and 10 percent to early childhood programs.

Thereafter, 85 percent would go to K-12 and 15 percent to early childhood programs.

Like Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, Proposition 38 represents another bid to convince voters to support public schools by raising their own taxes, glossing over the fact that California needs a complete overhaul of its spending plan.

But this initiative also has the puzzling goals of adding to the public’s responsibility a greater load of early childhood education duties at a time when the state needs to re-examine the scope of its social giving, not take on more of it.

We say again: California needs to revamp its spending obligations and reroute more existing revenue to education, not add to the burden of overtaxed individuals and institutions.

Do we need a bankrupt state government taking over parents’ personal child-rearing decisions? We think not.

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