SACRAMENTO—California will avoid huge spending cuts to public schools and universities, and be able to get out of the fiscal problems without cutting other services further, after voters handed Gov. Jerry Brown‘s signature tax measure a decisive victory Tuesday. Proposition 30 had an 8 percentage point lead Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Brown’s tax measure has been his central focus since his election two years ago and will have major implications for the state’s finances. If it had been defeated, nearly $6 billion in automatic spending cuts, falling almost entirely on public schools, would have been automatically enacted under the budget approved by lawmakers earlier this year.
Prop. 30 will raise the sales tax by one penny for every $4 spent for four years, while increasing the income tax on the state’s highest earners for seven years. It would generate about $6 billion per year in new revenue. The sales tax hike will go into effect Jan. 1, while the personal income tax increase is retroactive to the beginning of this year for families and individuals making more than $250,000.
For many, the impact of Prop. 30 not passing, and the possibility of roughly $6 billion in cuts, would have hit them directly. UC and CSU warned of tuition hikes; California Community Colleges have already cut course offerings and enrollment. K-12 officials said they could lose up to three weeks of school if the measure didn’t pass; districts across the state prepared contingency plans.
For higher education, this means college dreams can become a reality. More students that have worked hard and prepared for college will be able to attend. Tuition and fees will not increase yet again and courses that college students need to graduate will not be cut any further.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement regarding voter approval of Proposition 30:
“Passage of Proposition 30 means parents and students across the state can breathe a collective sigh of relief, knowing that our schools will have the resources to stay open for the remainder of the year. My heartfelt thanks to the Governor and the volunteer army of parents, teachers, school employees, administrators, and school board members, who stood together to stop further devastating cuts to education.The people of California have given our schools a well-earned vote of confidence. We intend to make the most of it by continuing our work to give all children the world-class education they deserve.”
For more information on Proposition 30 and other ballot initiatives check out the official website for the CA Secretary of State.