Prop 55 Campaign Revs Up to Extend Taxes for School Funding

Ed Jaramillo, left, president of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, and Al Young, right, manned a table at a Prop. 55 event at Laney College in Oakland on Tuesday. (Fred Glass/Calif. Federation of Teachers)

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

OAKLAND, Calif. – The campaign promoting Proposition 55 is ramping up, with supporters taking to the phone banks, walking the precincts and holding campus events, including one that occurred on Tuesday September 27, 2016 at Laney College in Oakland.

Prop 55 would keep the temporary state income-tax increase in place for wealthy California households that was approved as part of Prop 30 and set to expire in 2018. It generates an estimated $7 billion a year for public education.

Ed Jaramillo, president of the Peralta Federation of Teachers Local 1603, said that eight years ago – prior to Prop 30 – schools from kindergarten to community college saw devastating cutbacks.

“This helps fund programs for the students,” he said. “Also, it relieves a lot of the pressures on the districts. Previous to Prop 30, there were layoffs and class cuts.”

Opponents have contended that Prop 30’s income-tax hike only was supposed to be temporary, and they believe the improving economy should mean it’s no longer necessary. The quarter-cent sales tax that was also part of Proposition 30 would not be renewed.

Meredith Brown, a trustee at Laney College, said California schools are just now getting back to where they were before the recession. She said she thinks it would be foolhardy to jeopardize the progress that’s been made.

“We’re trying to meet the needs of a growing society and our industry,” she said. “It will help us mitigate the impact of a future recession, as we are growing and improving the programs that we can offer to our students.”

Brown estimated that the Peralta Community College District alone, which includes four colleges in the East Bay, would lose $3 million a year if Proposition 55 doesn’t pass.

Ballotpedia’s explanation of Prop 30 and Prop 55 tax rates is online at <>.