SCTA ORGANIZING COMMITTEE UPDATE
WEEK of SEPTEMBER 4, 2012
Yes on Propostion 30; No on Proposition 32
Welcome back to the 2012-2013 school year. We hope you had a restful and fulfilling summer and that you’re returning to work filled with the purpose and promise that makes teaching such a rewarding profession. We also can’t ignore the fact that the institution of public education is under attack due to the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes and the deliberate politics of education “reformers” who seek to privatize our schools and grab huge profits, eliminate worker protections, and break our unions. Our school district is a target for many of these efforts. Education, communication and action are the keys to our ability to successfully fight back against such harmful initiatives.
SCTA is committed to collaborating in true partnership with our school and community leaders to address the real issues our schools, students and families now face as a result of severe budget cuts and unconscionable child poverty rates. We must be our own best advocates—and when we stand up for our profession and our schools, we also advocate for our students, their families and our community.
YES ON PROPOSITION 30
Two critically important voter initiatives, Proposition 30 and Proposition 32, will be the focus of SCTA’s outreach and organization priorities through the November election.
Proposition 30, the “Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act,” prevents deep school cuts and provides billions in new funding by instituting a temporary income tax increase on the state’s highest earners, couples making more than $500,000. Prop. 30 would also temporarily increase the sales tax rate by a quarter cent increase. . The income tax increase will expire in seven years, and the sales tax rate increase expires in four years. All money goes into a special account that the Legislature can’t touch, requiring annual audits with strict accountability. If Prop. 30 fails, public schools and colleges will be cut by another $6 billion this year. That’s the equivalent of cutting three weeks of instruction off the school year.
In a press conference held in August at our very ownNewTechnologyHigh School, Governor Brown said he wants to make sure the voters understand the stakes. “The people will decide, and whatever they decide, I will carry out. But my preference, my strong recommendation, is Yes on 30 forCalifornia.
“This is the most critical issue on the ballot this November, other than the presidency itself,” he added, “because it’s about the future, it’s about our kids, and it’s about whetherCalifornia, as a democracy, can make a public decision for our schools and take this responsibility that, for at least the better part of a decade, has been shirked.”
NO ON PROPOSITION 32
Proposition 32, the so-called “Special Exemptions Act,” under the guise of campaign finance reform, would all but destroy the ability of labor unions, including the California Teachers Association and the SCTA, to participate in the political process, including local school board races.
On the surface, Proposition 32 sounds reasonable: it bans direct contributions to Californiacandidates by corporations and labor unions. It prohibits the collection of “political funds” from corporate employees and union members via payroll deduction, even if the employee or member voluntarily approves. Political funds include money spent for or against a candidate or ballot measure or for a party or political action committee, or PAC. However, hiding in the weeds of this measure is an enormous loophole for major corporate players: common business structures such as partnerships and real estate and investment trusts are not subject to the provisions. Venture investors, land developers and law firms are totally exempt. Moreover, very few businesses and corporations collect campaign corporations through payroll deductions. Proposition 32 would not touch the ability of corporations to spent unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns through their treasuries (as sanctioned by the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission). Its purpose is to prevent unions from having the same privilege.
Proposition 32 is being bankrolled by billionaire businessmen with a long history of contributing large sums of money to conservative political causes. The measure is not about ending the flow of special interest money into the California electoral process. Corporate contributions would continue unfettered. Rather, Prop 32 aims to silence the collective political voice of working people. Proposition 32 is both extremely dangerous and extremely deceptive. It must be defeated.
We know this is a lot of information, but it is essential that our members become well-versed on both propositions so we can all effectively educate our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues about why they need to remember to vote YES on Proposition 30; NO on Proposition 32.
Look for updates and materials with simple messages on both propositions soon.