Without a doubt, the debate over Proposition 30 is one that needs to be heard by not just Pierce students, but all students and supporters of the community college system.
If you’re unfamiliar with the November 6 ballot proposition, Prop 30 would increase the sales tax by 0.25 percent, and it would increase the personal income tax by 3-5 percent on those making over $250,000 a year. The funds raised by the measure range from $6 billion to $9 billion annually.
The rejection of this measure would mean the state would have to cut $6 billion from the 2012-2013 budget, triggering cuts that would dramatically affect education. Of that $6 billion, $5.4 billion would be cut from K-12 and community colleges.
The effects will be disastrous for the community college system if this proposition does not pass. We’ve already felt the sting of budget cuts, whether it’s in the form of higher fees or reduced services. Having even less funds would place more burden on us, hurting the state more than it would heal.
Community colleges are the stepping stone to higher education and the path to a career. These institutions have been a means for the working class to afford an education beyond high school. The rejection of Prop 30 would only make their difficult journey even more so.
Children of the Los Angeles Unified School District would suffer from the deep cuts to K-12. With increasingly less resources at their disposal, instruction will become harder for these students as they continue on to high school.
When this same generation of students goes on to college, they’ll find themselves in an immobilized system that will have the same, or even worse, conditions than from which they came. The damaged structure of community colleges will be unable to support the weight of these under-minded students.
From a monetary standpoint the higher taxes are sound, and the proposition stipulates that they are only temporary. The increase in sales tax which affects everyone would only last four years, compared to seven years for the increase in income tax. The personal income tax portion would also only affect the top 3% of California taxpayers, according to data from the California Franchise Tax Board.
Those opposed to Prop 30 argue that the funds raised by the measure could be diverted away from the schools by the state legislature. However, the measure does states that the legislature cannot touch the funds, and it leaves it up to the school’s discretion on how to spend it. Prop 30 also says that the funds will go through annual audits.
The numbers make sense. Not enacting Prop 30 would mean a huge blow to public education. On November 6, students must make it clear that the cost of balanced budgets should not come at the cost of our education.