In nine weeks, this nation will take part in one of Western Civilization’s oldest and greatest traditions: the election. United States citizens will stand and be counted, contributing their voices to the choir shouting, “This is the vision of this nation’s future that I want to see!”
In California, eleven propositions are being sent out to be made, by those who vote, into law. In the interest of having an educated and passionate citizenry, each initiative to be introduced will be represented with an eye to both the past and future of this state, so as to allow every voter to make a clear and deliberate decision supporting what they want to see.
One of these propositions, Gov. Jerry Brown’s “Sales and Income Tax Increase” (Proposition 30), looks to increase the state’s sales tax and expand the top of the income tax brackets for the next seven years.
Neither of these are unreasonable goals; those who make less than $250,000 will barely feel the one-fourth cent increase to their sales and use tax. Hardly three years ago Gov. Schwarzenegger increased the tax by twice that, and the following two years saw economic growth in the state nearly recovering from its -0.4 percent shrink in 2009.
This increase ended in 2011 and the gross domestic product of California continues to rise, even with a heavier sales and use Tax. The increase is such a small impact with such large benefit that there is no real reason, barring the ideological, why it should be withheld.
At this moment, the highest tax bracket for taxpayers in California are those earning over $1 million, giving 9.3 percent of their earnings to the state.
The next highest earners make less than $50,000, contributing 8 percent of their earnings to California’s costs. The new brackets in Proposition 30 create new markers at $250,000, $300,000 and $500,000.
These brackets will be taxed at 10.3 percent, 11.3 percent and 12.3 percent respectively. Millionaires will be called on to provide 13.3 percent of their earnings in keeping the state government running.
These boosts will affect less than 3 percent of taxpayers, and the increased earnings will allow the budget to keep up with escalating costs in education and introducing new students to the system with state grants.
This is not to act as if nothing in the education system needs to change. Opponents to Proposition 30insist that this bill will do nothing to trim the growing fat within the state colleges.
Cal State Fullerton itself has nearly doubled its budget since 2001, but this bill isn’t about fixing the issues that are apparent; this bill is about making sure that what’s there is still available to the students that need it.
When you’re trying to fix something, you need to see what’s still working, and the school can’t make things work unless they have the funding.
Legislators who are worried about the growing cost of education, both to the state and the individual, shouldn’t wait for tax increases to decry that things need to be fixed.
The impacts of Proposition 30 are minor, and having a legislated 7-year life should calm all fears of a permanent bleeding of the wealthier classes.
Giving a little more of oneself for the better of the community is the very core of being a citizen.
But attempting to refuse a small dent in some decade-long financial expectation is ignoring those who will become the backbone of this state’s economy in less than a decade’s time.
It’s a very shortsighted cry of injustice while pressing long term economic misfortune on those who are consistently underrepresented in voter turnout.