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California Passes Proposition 30, Prevents $6 Billion in School Cuts

On Election Day, California voters passed Proposition 30, a temporary tax increase that will prevent a nearly $6 billion cut to the state’s public schools. Backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the proposition is the first general tax increase passed in the state in two decades. It will increase sales taxes by a quarter of a cent for four years on the state’s base rate of 7.25 percent, and income taxes for those earning more than $250,000 for seven years.

Had Proposition 30 been defeated, California would have faced an immediate $5.9 billion in budget cuts, mostly to K12 schools, and severe reductions in the length of the school year. The plan is projected to raise an average of $6 billion annually for the state’s general fund and schools, to prevent these “trigger cuts.”

“Passage of Proposition 30 means parents and students across the state can breathe a collective sigh of relief, knowing that our schools will have the resources to stay open for the remainder of the year,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a statement Wednesday morning. “My heartfelt thanks to the governor and the volunteer army of parents, teachers, school employees, administrators, and school board members, who stood together to stop further devastating cuts to education.”

Proposition 30 won 54 percent of the vote, and was backed by the California Teachers Association. The measure was strongly supported in Los Angeles County and the Bay Area, and rejected in more conservative areas including Modoc County in the far northeast corner of the state.

In contrast, the competing Proposition 38, a tax plan backed by civil rights attorney Molly Munger that would increase the income tax rate on nearly all citizens for 12 years, was criticized as hurting poorer taxpayers and was quickly defeated by voters.

“It is apparent that the voters are aware of the devastating cuts schools districts have taken the past five years. They have said enough is enough,” said L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy in a statement Wednesday morning. “These funds, from Proposition 30, will better equip us to provide a quality education to all LAUSD youth over the next several years and begin the road back to fiscal recovery.”