California voters chose to pass a tax increase on the wealthy and a sales tax increase of a quarter of a cent in a 54 to 46 vote on Prop 30, a ballot initiative designed to bring funding to both K-12 education and curb tuition increases in the state’s higher education system.
“I know some people had some doubts, had some questions – can you really go to people and ask them to raise their tax?” Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said at an election event near the state capitol on Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Let’s raise our taxes for students, for our schools, for our California dream.”
Dean E. Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, said in a statement, “[California voters] want to see funding restored to our schools and colleges. They want to stop the tuition hikes and class size increases. They want to see students have music, and art, and libraries and access to counselors and nurses. They want to see our schools flourish and our students succeed.”
The state’s competing measure, backed by civil rights lawyer millionaire Molly Munger, was soundly defeated in a 72 to 37 vote.
As Raw Story reported last week, the measure means that school districts won’t have to cut days from the school year in K-12 and may hold off dramatic tuition increases in the state university system. Had the measure been defeated, it would have resulted in more than $6 billion in automatic spending cuts, mostly from public schools.
But though this will avert some funding problems, Jeanette Wylie, President of the Travis Unified Teachers Association, told Raw Story over email, “We appreciate the support from a slim majority of voters, but people must realize this will not restore programs we have already lost like elementary music. This will not decrease class size back to our reasonable numbers before 2009.”
Joshua Pechthalt, California Federation of Teachers, agreed. “Prop 30 stops the bleeding,” Pechthalt said on a conference call Wednesday with reporters, “but clearly we’re going to need to push the legislature to fund education at the level it was funded back in the golden days of public education in California.”
“When I get asked why Proposition 30 is important to immigrants, I think of Li Shuang Li, an immigrant worker and leader with the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco who has faced first-hand the inequalities for workers when millionaires and billionaires do not pay their fair share in taxes. I think of Hassan, a community college student and leader with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles who does not yet have the right to vote and asks his fellow Latinos to vote—not only for their future, but for the future of so many immigrants who cannot yet vote,” said Aparna Shah, executive director of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote Action Fund.
California is projected to have a supermajority of Democrats in the state legislature.