California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 30, designed to temporarily increase the state sales tax rate by a quarter-cent for four years and personal income tax rates for taxpayers earning more than $250,000 annually for seven years.
These temporary tax increase would provide an estimated $6 billion a year from 2013 through mid-2017 to pay for programs funded in the state budget, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Eighty-nine percent would go to K–12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Use for administration costs would be banned, but local school boards would have the final say on how the new funds are spent.
“This money has already been allocated because the budget for this fiscal year was built on the presumption that the tax would be approved,” the Press Democrat wrote in an editorial Friday. “A false hope? Maybe, but the alternative would have been to force schools to scale back billions in hopes that these cuts would be restored later after voters approved them. Schools, teachers and school children have been jerked around enough over the past five years — as funding has dropped significantly – without needing to put them through that type of process.”
Jack Atkin, president of the Sonoma County Taxpayers’ Association, wrote in a Press Democrat guest editorial Monday that Prop. 30 “reveals the worst of California politics.”
“If voters approve a tax increase without first insisting on real pension reform it amounts to nothing less than a failure of voters to hold their government accountable,” he wrote. “In the face of government failure to properly manage the public resources already available, a vote for Proposition 30 will be providing those same folks additional resources for them to mismanage. If voters are unwilling to stand up and insist their state government be accountable now, it’s hard to see who will do it for us, or when will they do it.”
Also part of Prop. 30, was the plan to have public safety funds transferred from the state to local governments.
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