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Two initiatives, one goal: Save California’s failing education system

POSTED April 6, 2012 7:52 p.m.

California ranks 47th nationally in per-pupil spending and has the largest class sizes in the country. Over the last three years, $20 billion has been cut from schools and more than 40,000 educators have been laid off.

Everyone agrees that the state’s education system needs help, but there are differing opinions on how to raise the money to fund that help.  Governor Jerry Brown and the California Federation of Teachers are proposing an initiative, known as The Sales and Income Tax Increase; while the California State Parent-Teacher Association is advocating for the Our Children, Our Future initiative, sponsored by millionaire attorney Molly Munger.

The bottom line is that both proposals call for tax increases but the efforts differ on how to raise taxes.

Supporters of Our Children praise the proposed ballot initiative because it will deliver new revenue directly to every school site in the state. Opponents of the initiative include Governor Brown who argued the tax would do nothing to reduce the state’s multibillion-dollar budget.

Supporters of the Sales and Income Tax Increase applaud that the proposal would reduce the state’s budget crisis and money would go to K-14, public safety and social services. Critics say Gov. Brown’s proposal will face an uphill battle because voters are unlikely approve a tax increase in a recession. Also, critics say Brown’s bill is misleading because funding would go through Sacramento, the opposite of Our Children, which would send funds directly to school districts. Additionally, critics believe that a tax increase on the wealthy would drive millionaires out of the state.

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