Proposition 30:  Labor Gets Out the Vote for Public Education and Public Safety

Labor, including a broad coalition of educators and students, public safety workers, healthcare workers, community groups, and businesses, successfully got out the vote to pass Governor Brown’s Proposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act.  Proposition 30 prevented $6 billion in automatic cuts to public schools, which would have forced many school districts to shorten the school year by three weeks or take other drastic measures.  Proposition 30 also prevented $1 billion in automatic cuts to higher education.

Proposition 30 provides funding for public schools and public safety by increasing state personal income tax rates on Californians earning $250,000 or more, and by increasing the state sales tax by 0.25%.  The Legislative Analyst’s Office projects these taxes will raise at least $6 billion in annual revenues.

Approximately half of the new revenues (estimated at $2.9 million) will go to an “Education Protection Account” within the state’s General Fund to fund schools and community colleges using funding formulas required by the California Constitution, as amended by Proposition 98.  Of the estimated $2.9 million, 89% will go to K-12 schools and 11% will go to community colleges.  In the first year, $2.2 billion of the $2.9 billion will be used to pay off the state’s debt to public education, thus helping to balance the state budget.

The rest of the new revenues will be used for guaranteed ongoing state funding for local public safety and health and human services programs, including law enforcement, local jails and juvenile detention facilities, child protective services, mental health services, and substance abuse programs.

By Kristina M. Zinnen

Legal Developments