Support both Prop. 30 and Prop. 38 for education

Voters in California are being asked to consider two competing tax measures on the November ballot, propositions 30 and 38. If both are approved, the one with the higher percentage of votes will prevail.

But to avoid confusion, the best strategy is to vote yes on both measures.

The propositions, if approved, would send more money to public education in the state.

Prop. 30, which has the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown, gives money to education and public safety. To do so, the measure would increase for seven years the income tax on people whose income exceeds $250,000. It also would hike the California sales tax by one-quarter of 1 percent for the same time period.

Prop. 38, backed by millionaire Molly Munger, would steer slightly more funds to education. But in exchange, more Californians would have to start paying more income taxes.

The big difference between these two tax measures is what will happen if they don’t pass. If Prop. 38 fails, California education simply will not receive any additional funding beyond what is currently budgeted.

But the failure of Prop. 30 would trigger immediate cuts of nearly $6 billion from the state budget. The San Francisco Unified School District stands to lose nearly $24 million if the proposition fails. City College of San Francisco could lose $10 million. The California State University system might watch $250 million evaporate.

Critics of Brown’s proposal say the governor is extorting voters into approving taxes under the threat of drastic cuts. But education funding in the state has been cut to the point that these new funds are needed. And the governor recently convinced legislators to take a first step toward reforming public employee pensions in
California.

The San Francisco Examiner would prefer that Prop. 30 triumph at the polls, since it would place a greater share of the new tax burden upon the state’s very wealthiest individuals. But should voters not approve the Brown proposal, Prop. 38 needs to be approved as a safety net since it will provide key funding for schools, but not as equitably as Prop. 30 would do. Education is an investment in the future, and these propositions, albeit neither one perfect, are the way to do it.

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