Proposition 30 and California’s Future

Fellow Californians:

There’s a lot of money being spent to spread misinformation about Proposition 30. Please take the time to educate yourself about it before deciding how to vote. It boils down to a 0.25% increase in sales tax for four years and an income tax increase on people who make more than $250,000 a year (rich people, in other words).

What you won’t see in the voter information guide, though, is the human cost if we fail to pass this initiative. K-12 education will suffer the most, but a loss for Prop. 30 will also gut our already stressed higher ed. systems. Here’s how one writer over at the Huffington Post puts it:

If Prop 30 fails, both the University of California and California State University systems will get a $250 million cut. UC would likely increase tuition by a minimum of 20 percent to respond to the shortfall; CSU would likely raise tuition and admit 20,000 fewer students to respond to its own cut, according to reports. Community colleges would get another $338 million cut in the middle of the 2012-13 academic year, and faculty could expect more job losses and furloughs, not to mention a lack of a pay raise.

So, tuition will skyrocket, vital programs will be cut, and lots of teachers could lose their jobs. A college education will become an unattainable dream for many young Californians.

The thing is, we will all end up paying the costs for these people one way or another. Either we pass Prop. 30 and educate our kids to become productive members of our society, or we wait a few years and spend even *more* taxpayer money to care for (or incarcerate) those who fall through the ever-widening cracks.

I’ve said in the past that I’m not a big fan of California’s initiative system, but this one represents an important course correction. Our education system, from grade school through college, used to be the pride of the state, and California prospered because it understood the importance of investing in its own future. We’ve since lost our way, preferring to build prisons instead of human capital, but Prop. 30 would be an important move back in the right direction.





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