Broad Coalition of Community Members Declare Support for Tax Extension That Could Be on the Ballot as Early as June, Would Help Prevent a $6 Billion Hit to K-12 and College Funding
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today joined Los Angeles Unified
School District (LAUSD) leadership, teachers and students, labor and business leaders, educators and community members in support of efforts to fully fund our schools and mobilize in support of the Governor’s tax extension plan.
“We are here today – teachers, school employees, students, parents, business groups, and civic leaders – to declare in one unified voice our support for Governor Brown’s plan to fund our schools,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “We are here today in support of excellent teachers, like Mr. Pentecost, a visual arts and drama teacher here at Santee who has received the devastating news that he may lose his job. And we are here today in support of young people like Robert Virgen, Joanna Martinez and Joel Burgueño, who are only in 11th or 12th grade once in their lives and deserve every opportunity to thrive.”
In anticipation of significant budget cuts and considerable fiscal uncertainty this year, LAUSD issued over 7,000 layoff notices to teachers and professional staff members last week. To help address the District’s budget shortfall, the coalition assembled today in support of Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to renew the quarter-percent increase in personal income tax rates that expired at the end of 2010, and maintain a 1 percent bump in the sales tax that is set to lapse in June.
“We firmly believe the Governor’s approach, as well as putting this before the voters in a June special election is the right course of action,” said Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President David Rattray. “We discussed the merits of cutting spending alone, but our analysis led to the conclusion that $25 billion in cuts is not achievable without eliminating critical services for our citizens and devastating cuts to education.”
The Governor’s proposal is estimated to raise over $12 billion, thus reducing by half the State’s projected $26 billion budget deficit. For the measure to appear on a June ballot, two-thirds of lawmakers in Sacramento must agree to allow it by the end of this month. Barring actions to address the current budget shortfall by increasing revenue, K- 12 and college education would likely face up to $6 billion in cuts.
“The public should understand that without this additional money, the devastation to public education will be immeasurable,” said A.J. Duffy, President of United Teachers of Los Angeles.
According to a January survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 53 percent of Californians support Governor Brown’s special election proposal to extend tax and fee increases and spare cuts to K-12 education, higher education, health and human services.