The debate between Propositions 30 and 38 is intensifying for California residents. Unfortunately, neither proposition is perfect. Prop. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure, plans to increase taxes on the richest Californians to help close the budget gap, generating revenue for schools and local public safety programs. Prop. 38, lawyer Molly Munger’s proposal, would raise the income tax rate on most Californians to help fund schools and pay down the state’s hefty education bond debt.
Both are far from the long-term care California’s systematically flawed school system and budget desperately need. But Prop. 38’s singular focus on K-12 education and use of a sliding scale to raise taxes for those earning as little as $7,316 per year is not the answer to California’s budget woes. Meanwhile, Prop. 30 is the only proposal that will prevent a $6 billion trigger cut to schools at all levels that have already been facing enormous budgetary problems for years. For these reasons, the Daily Trojan urges the Trojan Family to vote yes on Prop. 30 and no on Prop. 38.
With solid relief for public safety programs and schools alike, Prop. 30 is effectively the stronger option. Its funds would primarily come from increasing the income tax by 1 to 3 percentage points over seven years only on individuals who earn more than $250,000. The rest would come from increasing the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent for the next four years — a minor burden that would yield major benefits for the state, and one that would save K-12 schools from canceling up to three weeks’ worth of classes, UC students from paying mid-year tuition hikes, all state universities from slashing classes and state programs ranging from fire safety to substance abuse treatment from being reduced.
Some argue that voting for both propositions is the best route voters can take to ensure some sort of relief for California education. But before going to the polls or sending in their absentee ballots, voters should understand the implications of doing so.
A vote for Prop. 38 is a vote against Prop. 30 becoming law — something numerous experts and publications, including the Los Angeles Times, have pointed out. Prop. 38 also does nothing to stop the deep budget cuts for California’s university systems that Prop. 30 would prevent.
But support for Prop. 30 has plunged to only 46 percent of registered voters, down from 64 percent in March, according to the most recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released on Oct. 25. Another 42 percent of voters opposed the measure outright. A majority — 61 percent — of those polled, however, were over the age of 45, and other recent polls suggest young voter turnout could be a critical factor in Prop. 30’s passage or defeat. A Public Policy Institute of California poll released on Oct. 24 found that 70 percent of voters age 18 to 34 support Prop 30. The difference between the successful passing of Prop. 30 and a future of crippling budget cuts lies in whether these voters turn out come election day.
Californians deserve education that isn’t burdened by shortened terms or budget cuts. Prop. 30 presents a clear path to ensuring that students do not lose out. Though Prop. 38 is well-intended, Prop. 30 offers the kind of broad financial relief California’s public schools need now.
USC students might not be directly impacted by Prop. 30’s passage or failure, but our university will be. Every year, USC accepts an increasing number of community college and state university students, all of whom face the burden of budget cuts to schools.
With our peers’ educations on the line, it’s clear that we must vote yes on 30 — a measure that will help steer California’s future in the right direction.
Staff editorials are determined by the editorial board. Its members are Elena Kadvany, Nicholas Slayton, Jennifer Schultz, Eddie Kim, Joey Kaufman and Sean Fitz-Gerald.