Submitted by helen on August 22, 2012
Ballot Measure to which this Recommendation is Connected:Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding.
Election:November 6, 2012
Related LWVC Positions:Position on California State Constitution Position on Education Position on State and Local Finances
Proposition 30 begins to move California toward financial stability and adequate funding for all the services we want from our government; we can’t continue to cut vital public services like schools and public safety. This measure will provide some much needed income from a temporary increase in income tax rates for the wealthy and a modest temporary sales tax increase. The plan is a part of a balanced approach to eliminating our deficit that includes $8 billion in cuts, $6 billion in new revenues, and $2.5 billion in loans, deferrals, etc., this year. Proposition 30 also guarantees a stable source of funding for counties to pay for their new public safety responsibilities such as housing low-level prisoners and providing substance abuse treatment.
Over the past twenty years, the League has consistently supported revenue solutions as part of balancing the state’s budget. The situation has become increasingly dire as the California economy continues to suffer from the current recession. This measure provides some increased revenue, at least temporarily, so that with prudent fiscal management and repayment of debt while the tax increases are in effect, the budget should be in good shape when they expire.
Our SLF position supports an emphasis on income-based taxes based on ability to pay, and the income tax rate increase is in line with this position.
Funding of Realignment
The provisions of this initiative relative to public safety realignment programs are intended to provide greater certainty about funding to counties, which have been made responsible for incarceration and post-release supervision of low-level offenders, including the provision of supportive services such as substance abuse and mental health treatment, foster care and child welfare services.
While the League would generally oppose this permanent earmarking, this does create a level of predictability for county governments, which is desperately needed. In addition, given the past history of state funding of local mandates, this guarantee seems necessary if we expect counties to embrace their new responsibilities under realignment.
State School Funding
The revenue from the sales and income tax increases will be placed in an account dedicated to education. However, since the revenues would be General Fund revenues, they could be used to help meet Proposition 98 mandated funding, thereby freeing up money for other purposes. The increase in General Fund receipts would increase the state's Proposition 98 funding requirement, and thereby increase funding for education.