The San Francisco Examiner has it all wrong (“Support both tax increases for education,” Oct. 10 editorial). A yes vote on Proposition 30 will not guarantee any new funding for education — not even one cent. Gov. Jerry Brown is making empty threats to cut education in order to scare voters, and Prop. 30 is not a “millionaires tax” — it will negatively impact every California taxpayer and resident.
Prop. 30 does not guarantee any new funding for education. Even the California School Boards Association stated that, “The governor’s initiative does not provide new funding for schools. Instead, it bolsters the General Fund with new revenue.” The money goes into the general fund, which politicians can — and will — spend on whatever they want. The independent California Legislative Analyst’s Office stated that the “future actions of the governor and Legislature would determine the use of these funds.” Prop. 30 money is not earmarked for education. Nothing is stopping politicians from dipping their hands into the general fund, and history has shown us that taxes going to the general fund are a legislator’s license to spend.
Brown is making empty, and desperate, threats. He is threatening voters, saying if they don’t pass his $50 billion tax increase, he will cut funding for the University of California and California State University systems. But just a few months ago, Brown was making the same empty threats to cut state parks funding. Then, a state parks fund with nearly $54 million in it was uncovered.
On top of that, this year the governor and Legislature authorized the sale of $5.8 billion in high-speed rail bonds, which will cost the taxpayers $380 million in additional interest payments. Sadly, the interest alone is more than Brown’s proposed cuts to the UC and CSU systems. Sacramento’s priorities are very seriously out of whack when our leadership is willing to cut spending with one hand while it throws money at a bullet train to nowhere with the other.
Prop. 30 is not a “millionaires tax.” It is both a sales and an income tax. The sales tax will increase $1 billion a year and hit every Californian and go toward things we need every day, such as groceries, clothes and (already-overtaxed) gas. The income tax will raise taxes by 32 percent on individual filers including many of California’s 3.8 million small businesses that file taxes as individuals, meaning their taxes will jump. Mom-and-pop businesses will suffer. They may be forced to raise their prices, lay off workers or vote with their feet and move out of state.
And what about our economy? California already has the highest sales taxes in the nation and the second-highest income taxes. If Prop. 30 passes, California will have the highest taxes in the nation, making its business climate even worse and accelerating the death spiral of businesses — and our tax base — moving to Texas, Nevada and other states. The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., released a study that found California is ranked No. 48 out of 50 states in business tax climate.
If Prop. 30 passes, we could have the worst business climate in the nation. It’s no wonder that Comcast and Campbell’s have moved out of state. Education should be a critical priority for California’s legislators, but Prop. 30 does nothing to advance that laudable goal, or hold our legislators accountable for responsible allocation of limited resources.
Vote no on Prop. 30. It doesn’t guarantee any new funding for education, hurts small businesses and damages our crippled economy.
Harmeet K. Dhillon is a small-business owner and civil-rights attorney in San Francisco, and is the chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party. She is also the Republican nominee for the District 11 state Senate seat.