I am asking you to take a few minutes out of your busy life to contact your legislators. We must act now to help prevent massive reductions in funding to public education and social services.
California is facing the most severe budget crisis since the passage of Prop 13 in 1978. In many ways it is even worse today, as we have already experienced many years of large cuts to public education and social services.
Most of the funding for K-12 and community college classrooms comes from the state. If the Legislature enacts the governor's current budget proposals, our students and the society we live in are not likely to recover for decades. The governor is proposing to reduce public education spending permanently by one fifth, in a state that already ranks 47th in the nation in per pupil spending. He wants to eliminate vital mental health services for seniors. He proposes to separate a million children from their health care. He wants to force thousands of students out of higher education by reducing the number of classes offered and by escalating student fee levels.
He is blaming the voters for the budget crisis and pretending there is no alternative. He is wrong on both counts. The budget crisis would not have been solved by the special election, which only proposed to raise $6 billion this year through his dubious lottery securitization scheme and redirecting "First Five" and mental health care funds. The budget deficit is $24 billion and rising. This is due to his policies, including his refusal-and the refusal of a minority of legislators-to tax the people and institutions that can best afford to pay.
Californians have a choice. Instead of forcing children and the sick and elderly into terrible suffering, we can ask people who make $250,000 or more a year to pay slightly more in taxes, and we can ask corporations that evade reasonable taxes to pay their fair share. By these means the state can raise more than $12 billion this year, and avoid the worst cuts.
Click here to send a letter to your legislators.
Marty Hittelman, CFT president
P.S. For more background on these issues, click here.
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