California News Service
SAN DIEGO – Supporters of Proposition 55 gathered at San Diego City College on August 24th, to make the case for the November ballot initiative that would extend a tax on the wealthy to fund education.
Prop 55 is a replacement for Proposition 30, parts of which expire in 2017. Prop 55 would cut the sales tax by 0.25 percent but keep the higher taxes on the wealthy that now provide about $7 billion a year for public education. Kelly Mayhew, a professor of English, humanities and gender studies at the college, called it a “must-pass” initiative.
“Before we passed Prop 30, we were going through terribly draconian budget cuts, which meant closing classes, fees were going up,” she said. “And so, I can’t imagine going back to before, when students in our schools suffered profoundly.”
Opponents have argued that high-income earners will flee the state if Prop 30’s taxes are extended, but statistics show that California has seen an increase in its numbers of millionaire and billionaire residents since Prop 30 passed.
Mayhew added that before Prop 30, class sizes in kindergarten through 12th grade went up dramatically and programs that had once been considered vital had to be cut. She said schools now have reversed some of the cuts from eight years ago, restoring school counselors and extracurricular activities, and she wants to see that progress continue.
“I’m involved in Prop 55 because that will at least stabilize the funding at the current levels without raising any extra taxes, but keeping the taxes on the top earners for the next 12 years,” she said.