A poll of 2,000 residents released yesterday by the Public Policy Institute of California, an independent research institution, indicates the majority of California voters would “pay higher taxes to maintain funding for K-12 education.”
The poll is a good sign for education officials statewide and locally for the Turlock Unified School District, which could face a $4.3 million budget shortfall next year if current taxes are not extended under Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget. The Governor’s budget calls for a special election in June, when voters would decide to extend current temporary tax increases in sales, income and vehicle taxes.
In the last three years TUSD has cut $10 million from its budget and another hit of $4.3 million could prove devastating to an already lean budget.
“I think it’s important the community knows that this (proposed election) is not about increasing taxes. It’s about extending the taxes that are already in place. People really need to know and understand that,” stressed TUSD Assistant Superintendent Lacrisha Ferreira.
The Public Policy poll specifically stated “Californians say they are willing to increase taxes to spare K–12 education (71 percent).”
As for the special election itself, the poll stated “two-thirds of Californians say a special election on Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax and fee proposal is a good idea, and a majority are generally satisfied with his budget plan.”
For the special election to even reach ballot boxes for voters, the state legislature must approve the election by a two-thirds vote.
If the temporary taxes are extended by the legislature and voters, TUSD would still take a $276,000 budget cut, according to Chief Financial Officer Lori Decker. That shortfall would be absorbed into the district’s finances and less-major cuts would still have to be made.
“It’s important to note that the governor’s proposal is just that; a proposal. After tax receipts come back in April, they will release a May revision and the proposal could change,” explained Decker.
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