The clock is ticking…

It has been nearly a month of getting the message out, and we are still in need of signatures and signature gatherers…

From CSEA:

Help us get
the Protect Schools and Public Safety Initiative
on the ballot!

Our schools and colleges desperately need more funding to get out of this endless cycle of budget cuts. Every year, more classified employees and teachers are laid off and our students suffer the consequences.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced in January that his budget for next year is tied to his ballot measure to raise more revenue for the state budget. Soon after, two other ballot measures were announced by independent groups.

CSEA worked with the governor and others to reach a compromise with backers of one of the alternatives, and CSEA’s Board of Directors has endorsed this compromise ballot measure.
Now we have just a short window of time to collect enough petition signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. Volunteering just a bit of your time right now could prevent further layoffs down the road. Contact your Field Office to volunteer today!

The Protect Schools and Public Safety Initiative would raise up to $9 billion to help fund schools and colleges by temporarily increasing the state sales tax by a quarter-percent and the income tax rate on high-income filers. The sales tax increase would last four years and the income tax increases would last seven years.

If voters approve the governor’s initiative, public education will get at least $2.5 billion in new funding, and the rest of the new revenues would help to close the expected budget gap in 2012-13.

The other revenue measure trying to qualify for the November ballot is sponsored by wealthy L.A. lawyer Molly Munger and the state PTA. While it has laudable goals, it has some key shortcomings. 

Budget experts generally agree that it could result in even more pressure to suspend the state’s Proposition 98 minimum school funding guarantee. It also does not bring in any additional education funding for the budget year, and it could result in triggering $4 billion in cuts if the governor’s initiative does not also pass.

Further complicating the budget picture, the Munger initiative doesn’t substantively provide revenue to the non-education side of the budget, so programs for the needy, disabled, seniors and low-income families will be slashed.  At the same time, it increases taxes on almost all income earners, while the governor’s initiative focuses income tax increases on the super rich.

CSEA and classified employees care about the “whole child” and the families of our students.  That is why we are strongly supporting Gov. Brown’s compromise initiative, which will fund education and other important programs and solve the California budget crisis.

“We can’t afford to take the risk that voters could reject new revenues in November,” said Association President Allan Clark. “The governor’s ballot measure has the broadest support and the best chance at passing in November. It provides more money for education and begins to reduce the state’s budget deficit.”

Clark says without the new revenues generated by the governor’s education funding initiative, the state’s budget shortfalls are expected to continue over the next five years. The state’s Department of Finance has estimated a budget shortfall of $9.2 billion in 2012-13, and annual budget deficits of about $5 billion thereafter.

“If we continue to face state budget cuts every year, we are certainly going to see more classified layoffs,” Clark said. “That’s why we have to make sure we get enough signatures to get this initiative on the November ballot.”