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Sacramento Bus Trip 2012

Published on: 2/5/2014 2:40 PM
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Earlier this month, I took a group of 120 parents, teachers, administrators, students, and activists to Sacramento to talk with our legislators about protecting school funding. Co-sponsored by my office and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, this year’s trip marked our tenth annual trip to the State Capitol.

As we awaited the arrival of the Governor’s revised budget, it was a very important day for us to demand of our legislators that education be a priority in the budget. Throughout the day, we met with a number of legislators who came to speak to us. 

Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani was kind enough to allow a small group to speak to her directly in her office and Assemblymember Nora Campos came by to speak to the group during lunch. All of the legislators we spoke to agreed that education is important; however, budget shortfalls have plagued our schools over the past several years.

During the day, numerous initiatives were discussed. Many legislators emphasized these must pass in order to prevent further cuts to education. Estelle LeMieux, Legislative Affairs for the California Teachers Association, stressed the importance of passing Governor Brown’s tax initiative, which would bring an estimated $6 billion in revenue to California. Without the revenues from this initiative, LeMieux stated that unprecedented cuts will have to be made, which may include the reduction of school year days by over three weeks.

A second initiative, the Molly Munger Tax Initiative, was also discussed heavily. LeMieux stated that she does not oppose the Munger Initiative, yet recommends that it be delayed for at least one year. The difference with the Munger Initiative is that although it will benefit K-12 education, it does not attempt to pay off debt.

The Governor’s Tax Initiative will attempt to pay off debt in the first year so that in the years following, more money should be seen in classrooms.

Assembly

member Bob Wieckowski, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Assemblymember Rich Gordon, Assemblymember Paul Fong, Assemblymember Jim Beall, and Assemblymember Bill Monning also voiced their support of the Governor’s Tax Initiative over the Munger Tax Initiative. Assemblymember Chris Norby’s staff member, Justin Turner, stated that the Assemblymember has not yet taken a position on either tax initiative, as he is continuing to weigh out the benefits.

 

Brown/CFT Initiative

ve

What are the details of the tax plan?

Increase sales by 1/4 cent and 2.2% increase on joint tax filers making $600,000 a year or more and 3% on joint tax filers making $1 million or more

Increases income taxes from .04% for those making over $7,316 a year to 2.2% for those making $2.5 million a year or more - increasing incrementally based on income

Where will the funding go?

General operating fund to close deficit; K-12 education, Community, State and UC Colleges

Pre

Sch

ools and Childcare, K-12 Education

How long will the tax last?

Sales tax increase until 2016

Tax increases until 2024


Another issue discussed from the Governor’s proposal in January was the weighted student formula. This proposal will allow more funding to be allocated to districts with large numbers of English-learning students and those from families with low incomes. LeMieux stated that CTA is a part of this coalition and does not oppose the reform. However they are putting all their energy between now and November to get the Governor’s Tax Initiative passed.  

It is important for residents to meet with our legislators to discuss our values and priorities. They are, after all, representing us.  While in Sacramento, we let our legislators know that we value education and that investing in education is important for California’s future. It is very important that we continue to reach out to our legislators and demand that they work together to find new revenue sources to support our education system.  For many, this was their one and only opportunity to speak face-to-face with their representatives in the Capitol.