Education: To Tax or Not to Tax

I’ve heard many things about Proposition 30, both in and out of the classroom. I’ve heard good, bad and even some questionable things. So I did some fact checking.

Prop. 30 calls for an increase in taxes for the next eight to nine years for certain salary brackets. It is written so that anyone making under $250,000 annually will not be affected by the tax increase, and everyone over that threshold will be taxed depending on how much they make.

While the bill calls for the revenues of this tax to be directed into a new subdivision of the State General Fund, there is no guarantee that the money raised by this bill will go there. Since the money raised by this tax will go toward K-12 schools, community colleges and public safety, it can also be used to sate the State General Fund since it is a subdivision of it, meaning that the tax revenue may not end up where it was originally intended to go.

There is another Proposition similar to this, Prop. 38, and it differs in a few ways: everyone is taxed no matter their annual income, but the tax increase depends on what annual salary bracket they fall into. The tax will last roughly 12 years, after which it can be reinstated by vote. Also, an account independent of the State General Fund will collect and administer the money to schools K-12, while the local school districts will decide how it’s spent. What’s important about this relationship is that in the long run, Prop. 38 may have a healthier effect on our schools.

However, Prop. 30 is rigged so citizens vote for it. If Prop. 30 is not passed, a $5.4 billion cut to state wide education will occur immediately, which will affect the UC system, most likely resulting in a tuition increase by the end of the year.

Unfairly, none of the money raised by either of these bills will ever benefit the UC system. Since no one wants a tuition hike, Prop 30 may get more “yes” votes from college students. But again, Prop. 38 is probably better for our schools. Fortunately, if both pass, the one with the most “yes” votes will go into effect. If both happen to fail, nothing good will happen. My answer: vote “yes” for both. We need money for education, but if neither passes, we all lose. If both pass, we may still win.

Alec Snavely is a third-year English and electrical engineering double major. He can be reached at asnavely@uci.edu.