Editorial: A necessary tax to protect education

We have already kissed summer goodbye and while the hot weather still lingers, time rolls on, Nov. 6 is fast approaching. It is important that as we dedicate ourselves to our academic obligations, we do not lose sight of the world around us.

Come Nov. 6th, the citizens of California will be called on to vote on many propositions that can and will have extreme impacts not just on our government but on us, the governed, as well. Among these propositions is one that has many within the public education community holding their breath, Proposition 30 has been placed on this year’s ballot as an effort to raise much needed funds in order to protect and improve our already disintegrating educational system.

Proposed by Governor Jerry Brown, if passed Prop. 30 will increase the Personal Income Tax paid by those who incur an annual income of over $250,000 for a period of seven years.

It will also increase the state’s sales tax one quarter percent per dollar for four years.

The revenue raised through these tax increases will benefit California’s public education system directly.

According to the Legislative Analyst, we can estimate that these increases would generate approximately $6 billion annually from 2012-13 through 2016-17 with smaller amounts in subsequent years until the tax increases expire in 2019. Eighty nine percent of the funds will go to the K-12 educational system and the community college system will receive the remaining 11 percent.

The state’s current budget is operating on the assumption that Prop. 30 will pass this Nov. If it doesn’t, extreme cuts within the educational system will take place to the tune of $6 billion dollars this year alone.

Over the past few years, we have already seen the end of many educational programs and extracurricular activities and it’s hard to see any more cuts that can be made without consequences that will be felt not only by students and faculty, but also parents and the rest of the community as well.

At a time like this, when many Americans are struggling just to keep ends meet, the idea of having to pay more taxes may seem very daunting. However, we must remember that a strong economy is founded on a strong workforce and without making the investments necessary in order to ensure that that strong workforce grows and flourishes, a hope for a better tomorrow is unfounded.

Many individuals would like to think that California could still afford to support a demanding and ever-growing educational system without having to raise taxes by making cuts elsewhere, but the truth is, cuts are being made across the board and if we want to salvage an already suffering yet vital institution, we need to make difficult decisions and we need to make them now.

It’s time that Californians begin to reinvest in the future of our state and help rehabilitate an already broken educational system.

Prop. 30 is the first step in the direction that our state has been struggling to find. While it is not perfect, it will help ensure that the future will be brighter for all of us.

Editorials represent the views of the City Times Editorial Board