As Election Day draws near, supporters of Proposition 55 gathered today in San Rafael to share their personal stories about why they support Prop 55, how the cuts have affected local communities in the Bay Area, and why it’s imperative to maintain the current income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians to avoid devastating cuts to education and vital services.
In communities across California, teachers, school employees, health care workers, higher education faculty, and other supporters, are urging a yes vote on Prop 55, to prevent public schools and community colleges from losing up to $4 billion in funding.
The supporters also discussed the critical “Get Out the Vote” efforts underway and provided practical information about voting. Supporters encouraged those who vote by mail to return their ballot as soon as possible or make a plan to vote on Election Day. The speakers added that whether you vote by mail, or vote at the polls, what matters is that you find Prop 55 on the ballot and vote yes.
“Now is not the time to cut funding for education, which would force our schools back to the days of teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and cuts to programs,” said Jerry Eaton, High School Foreign Language Teacher and CTA Board of Directors Member. “A lot is at stake this election, and our students and communities are counting on California voters to stand up for schools and students by getting out and voting yes on Prop 55.”
“What can we do to help our kids and public schools? The answer is simple – vote yes on Prop 55 to help our kids thrive,” said Tania Morales, Elementary School Administrative Assistant and CSEA Chapter President. “There are a lot of issues on the ballot this election, but Prop 55 is the only initiative that will prevent $4 billion in cuts to public education.
Supporters shared personal stories about the impacts felt during the recession when $50 billion was cut from education, and discussed the progress that has been made since Proposition 30 passed in 2012 which stabilized funding for schools. Stories like the ones shared are featured on the campaign’s website on the “Stories Hub” and on social media using #MyStoriesProp55.
Joining Eaton and Morales were representatives from California Federation of Teachers, SEIU Local 215 and the Novato Unified School District. The coalitionof more than 300 organizations and elected officials supporting Prop 55 includes the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California School Employees Association, California State PTA, California Medical Association, California Labor Federation, Health Access California, League of Women Voters, Children’s Defense Fund, and Children’s Hospital Association, as well as numerous elected officials and dozens of schools boards across the state.
Proposition 55, the California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016, is not a tax increase, it simply maintains the current income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians for 12 more years – singles earning more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $500,000 a year. Prop 55 directs funds specifically to K-12 public education and community colleges, while also allocating funds to health care for low-income children and their families. The proposition contains strict accountability requirements.
Budget forecasts show that unless we extend the current taxes on the wealthy, which would continue to bring in an average of $8 billion in annual revenues, our public schools will lose nearly $4 billion and our state budget will face a deficit of more than $4 billion in the first full year alone.
A Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey just released yesterday found that 59% of voters support extending the income tax rates on the wealthiest individuals and couples to spare education and other vital services from a repeat round of devastating budget cuts.