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AFT 1931 Resolution Supporting Progressive Tax Bills in the 2020 Legislative Session

Sep 17, 2020

Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the wealth inequality that has existed in the State of California by not only forcing millions of Californians into the unemployment line, but also allowing the ultra-wealthy to collect pandemic profits in the stock market rebound; and

Whereas, 14.9% of Californians are currently unemployed, with a majority of job loss in low-paying industries and employment for Black and Latina women fell over 20%; and

Whereas, California faces an eviction tsunami as legal protections lapse and 5 million renters face the prospect of eviction, which will be fueled by the loss of $600 in augmented monthly unemployment benefits under the federal CARES Act; and

Whereas, Schools face a $20 billion shortfall and lack resources to reopen safely, fueling wider achievement gaps; and

Whereas, 4,000 family childcare providers closing this year because of COVID, and 1,000 closing in July alone, making this vital resource harder to get and forces more parents to choose between work and caring for their kids; and

Whereas, In the middle of a pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Californians are estimated to have lost health coverage along with their jobs and income, and yet cuts were made to health coverage, and an additional $1.2 billion in cuts are scheduled for Medi-Cal without additional revenue; and

Whereas, $14 billion in “trigger cuts” are coming to our schools, affordable housing, and safety net services unless the federal government acts responsibly to support essential state and local frontline services by October 15th; and

Whereas, Billions of additional cuts are coming next year, which will cause inequities to widen given the disparate racial impacts of budget cuts; and

Whereas, according to Inequality.org and the Forbes billionaire list, the number of billionaires in California increased from March 2020 through June 2020 with a combined increase in their net worth of $175.4 billion; and

Whereas, combining the increase—not total—in the net worth of three of the top five billionaires in California equals to an amount of money greater than the entire Prop 98 public education expenditure in the California State Budget; and

Whereas, the Commit to Equity Coalition founded by organizations such as SEIU, CA Federation of Teachers, CA Teachers Association, United Domestic Workers, AFSCME CA, and other organizations representing frontline workers, seniors, environmentalists and advocates for racial and social justice who are demanding that the Governor and state lawmakers tax the privileged to fund real systemic changes that lift up communities of color and vulnerable groups through various pieces of legislation; and

Whereas, Assembly Bill 1253 (Santiago) attempts to raise the income taxes of individuals who earn $1million, $2 million, and $5 million at 1%, 3%, and 3.5% respectively to increase state revenues at a projected $6.7 billion annually; and

Whereas, Assembly Bill 2088 (Bonta) attempts to create a first-in-the-nation 0.4% wealth tax on individuals with a net worth of $30 million and up (the top 0.15% of the state’s population) to increase state revenues at a projected $7.5 billion annually; and

Whereas, California is also able to apply a mark to market tax on the unrealized capital gains that represent the bulk of the capital hoarded by the ultra-wealthy to raise approximately $10 billion for thirteen years or even up to $62 billion one-time; and

Whereas, the California 2020-21 state budget was balanced on the backs of public employee furloughs, cuts to vital services, and deferring payments to public education agencies; and

Whereas, any other idea that attempts to borrow from wealthy Californians by providing a discount in future tax liability in exchange for immediate payment of said future tax liability will only further harm Californians in future state budgets; and

Whereas, without significant revenues identified before the end of the year, California will face dire economic consequences and massive budget cuts not seen since the Great Recession;

Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved, that AFT 1931 supports the aforementioned legislative bills currently in print and the mark to market unrealized capital gains tax measure; and

Be It Further Resolved, that AFT 1931’s representative on the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Executive Board and its delegates will ask the Labor Council to adopt a resolution in support of these bills.

Be It Further Resolved, that this support be communicated by sending this resolution with information pertaining to its adoption to each elected official at the state level in San Diego County and the Democratic Party.

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