A new tax measure may raise personal income taxes for most Californians in order to fund K-12 schools, dependent on the outcome of the Nov. 6 election.
Proposition 38 will increase state personal income tax revenues from 2013 through 2024 and will allocate revenues directly to child care and preschool programs, public schools and state debt payments.
The proposition is estimated to reallocate roughly $10 billion in total with $6 billion to schools, $1 billion to child care and preschool and $3 billion for state savings on debt payments in the initial years of distribution.
Ivor Weiner, professor of special education at CSUN, said he will vote for Proposition 38 but will not vote for Proposition 30, the ballot initiative that will temporarily raise taxes to fund K-12 and public colleges but will give local school boards discretion to decide how the funds will be spent.
“With Proposition 30, money won’t go directly to schools, and legislators have a way to use that money as they wish, but with Proposition 38, the money raised through taxes will go directly to schools and gets put in a special ‘lockbox’ where legislators can’t touch it,” Weiner said.
“As a faculty member, I have to ask myself what’s more important: I get cut 5 percent in my salary, but I could do the right thing and vote to send money where it’s needed most,” said Weiner, who has been at CSUN for 13 years. “I am going to do the right thing.”
Although the money may not go directly to schools with Proposition 30, the CSU is guaranteed to lose $250 million of its budget if it that measure does not pass.
Proposition 38 is a 12-year plan that will allocate 60 percent of revenues to K-12 schools, 30 percent to repaying state debt, and 10 percent to early childhood programs during its first four years. Thereafter, the bill will allocate 85 percent to K-12 schools and 15 percent to early childhood programs.
The measure would increase personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using a sliding scale from .4 percent for the lowest earners to 2.2 percent for those earning over $2.5 million annually.
Hillary Hertzog, a professor of elementary education at CSUN, said everyone should look at how education is funded regardless of which propositions are on the ballot.
“We need to look for a sound funding base so we don’t get such incredible spikes and drop-offs of funding availability,” said Hertzog, who has been teaching at CSUN for 14 years. “When we look at the outcomes of government spending, we have lost a lot of super qualified teachers, and we are not able as a teacher preparation institution to place some of our incredible graduates into teaching positions, and so many of them end up leaving the profession.”
Hertzog said she likes the distribution to early childhood education but is concerned with the drop in childhood funding after 2024.
“Research tells us the more involvement we have with children at a younger age, the more academically successful they are,” Hertzog said. “I am impressed they are thinking about early childhood education, but I wish it was for a longer time period.”
Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman were unavailable to comment on this measure.
Voters can learn more about Proposition 38 and other measures before hitting the polls from the California’s voter registration guide.