It’s time to raise revenue to protect our schools and our communities. It’s time to tax the billionaires.
It is time to take action. As educators and classified professionals, we must fight back and demand investment in our schools and communities.
Our schools cannot safely reopen during this pandemic with the level of funding approved in the state budget agreement announced yesterday. At best, the budget deal will provide the bare minimum for our schools. But that’s only if the federal government comes through with state support.
And if our schools cannot reopen safely, California and our communities cannot reopen either. Californians will not be able to get back to work, more people will lose jobs, and the state’s economic pain will be deeper and will last longer.
Billionaires’ profits are soaring while our communities suffer
Most Californians have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Record unemployment and physical distancing have devastated our economy and hurt working families across the state, especially low-income communities of color. But the pain hasn’t been equally shared. In fact, a select few have profited greatly since the pandemic began (and even long before).
Astonishingly, since March California’s 161 billionaires have increased their net worth by $141 billion. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerbeg alone has seen his wealth increase $32 billion!
Instead of accepting potential cuts that might devastate our schools and our communities, shouldn’t we instead ask those who are profiting the most during the COVID-19 pandemic to invest in our state’s recovery?
Time to fund our future
The CFT research department has done a review of how billionaires and other wealthy Californians have profited since the pandemic began. CFT leaders have shared this working paper, Resetting Inequity in California, with Governor Newsom and legislative leaders, calling on them to take the courageous step and pass the revenues our schools need to fund the education that our students deserve.
CFT will continue our efforts to ensure our state, our schools, and our communities have the resources we need to recover from the pandemic, including working to pass the HEROES Act on the federal level, which includes $1 billion in federal relief for schools, states, and local governments. We will also continue our efforts to pass the Schools and Communities First initiative on the November ballot – a priority for CFT – which will close corporate property tax loopholes and raise $12 billion for public education and local governments.
Jeffery M. Freitas, President
Luukia Smith, Secretary-Treasurer | L. Lacy Barnes, Senior Vice President