In the recent election, California’s Proposition 30 to increase funding for public education and other state services passed by a narrow 54 percent majority vote. According to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Sunday, the initiative, sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown, passed because of overwhelming support from youth and minority voters.
The proposition increases personal income taxes for those earning more than $250,000 annually and raises sales tax by a quarter of a cent.
Fifty-eight percent of Latinos, 68 percent of blacks and nearly two-thirds of youth voters were in support of the education initiative, according to the poll.
“Give Jerry Brown credit,” Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said in a statement. “The governor reached out aggressively to young voters and minority voters and gained their support in huge numbers.”
Many of those in favor said they voted for the proposition to avoid spending cuts to California schools. Additionally, 41 percent of voters said the proposition “temporarily raises income taxes on the highest earners in a balanced way that makes sure everyone pays their fair share.”
The passage of this proposition and others like it have led to an increase in approval ratings for Brown and more optimism among Californians, according to the poll. Though citizens previously considered the state to be “on the wrong track,” many more are now confident in Brown’s budget efforts and the direction he is leading the state in.
Lawrence Picus, a professor of education in the USC Rossier School of Education, said some younger voters likely supported the Prop. 30 out of concern for the education of future generations. Picus also said young voters, who tend to have lower incomes, might be less concerned about an income tax hike.
“The other way one might think about it is remember that income taxes are charged on very high incomes, but most young people probably don’t make that much money yet so it costs them less,” Picus said. “And because the sales tax increased, they thought it was worth making that commitment to pay a little more tax on the things they buy to ensure good schools.”
Sean Ely, a masters student studying in electrical engineering, stressed the importance of prioritizing education both in California and in the United States.
“The competitive advantage of the United States is [based on] our education system and being more technologically advanced, because we can’t really compete on manufacturing with other countries,” Ely said.