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Proposition 30 or 38? Which Should You Choose?

Many local educators support Proposition 30. But voters can choose between that measure and Proposition 38, which also funds schools. What the difference between them?

Tuesday’s election promises to bring much needed help to California’s ailing educational system.

Two propositions, 30 and 38, will be on the ballot. Both aim to bring funding to the state’s severely underfund schools. 

Napa educators, including Napa Valley Unified School District superintendent Patrick Sweeney, have come out in favor of Prop. 30:

  • Napa Letter: Vote Yes on Prop. 30 for Schools

New Technology High School seniors are divided on the issue:

  • Future Voters Take Sides on Ballot Measures in Napa

There’s little doubt both measures would have a great impact, not just throughout the state, but locally. But which one is the best choice? And what’s the difference between them?

Edsource.org breaks it down in an easy to understand way with some detail. But below are the basics.

Proposition 30

  • Sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown
  • It raises money for schools by raising the sales tax by a quarter cent for the next four years. And for the next seven years, it would also raise personal income tax by 1 percent for those earning $250,000 to $300,000, by 2 percent for those earning $300,000 to $500,000 and by 3 percent for those earning more than $500,000 a year.
  • Funds will be given to the schools this fiscal year. It’s expected to raise $6 billion.
  • Of the funds raised, 40 to 60 percent go into an Education Protection Account. The balance can be used for other state programs.
  • Education boards must decide how to use the money during open meetings. Audits by school boards and the state controller will be conducted.

Proposition 38

  • Sponsored by attorney and philanthropist Molly Munger of the Advancement Project.
  • The measure raises money by raising personal income tax on everyone for 12 years starting Jan. 1. Those earning $7,316 and above will see an increase of 0.4 percent. Taxes for incomes above $2.5 million would be increased by 2.2 percent.
  • Funds would begin to go to schools in 2013-14. It is expected to raise $10 billion annually.
  • Thirty percent of the funds raised would be used to pay down state bond debt for the first four years.
  • Funds go into a new California Education Trust Fund that is overseen by a Fiscal Oversight Group composed of five key state officials.
  • The oversight board can authorize independent audits and schools must display budgets publicly and produce annual reports on how the funds are used.

Most are supporting Proposition 30 because it stops $6 billion in cuts that will hit schools and community colleges at the start of the coming year and because it begins pumping money into the educational system immediately.

Voters can vote yes on both propositions. The one with the most yes votes will take effect.

Both would make California’s personal income tax rate the highest in the country for the highest earners. Prop. 30 would raise it to 13.1 percent. Prop. 38 would raise it to 12.5 percent.

Edsource.org compares the propositions side in graphic form. Claremont McKenna’s Video Voter Series 2012 also compares the basic features of the two as well.

Do you favor Prop. 30, Prop. 38, both, or neither? Let us know in the comments.

Need help sorting through all 11 of the state ballot proposition? Our Voter Guide: What to Know About California's Ballot Measures makes it easy.

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Alex Shantz November 06, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I voted for Prop 30. It provides funding for institutions of higher education. It also specifically targets people making over $250,000 whereas in Prop 38 they start taxing people's income at a much lower income bracket. Taxing the rich is a great step forward. The rich should be paying their fair share. The rest of us shouldn't be excluded from higher education because of greedy people not wanting to pay their fair share.
Lorie November 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Your sense of entitlement and your hatred for people who earn their money (and do whatever it takes to keep it) is very disturbing. Scholarships are available, for those who take education seriously.
Scott Yeager November 06, 2012 at 02:19 PM
California ranks 47th in per pupil funding.
Neven November 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM
California ranks 47th because the majority of funding is used not for students and academics but to fund the bloated pensions and administrative costs of the government workforce. After the bureaucrats line their own pockets with outrageously high lifelong pensions & medical benefits - at taxpayer expense - little $$ actually goes toward education. Hence, the rank of 47th.
Alex Shantz November 06, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Neven, That might be true but the answer isn't to reduce funding. The answer is to reform the system. Why can't students and faculty collectively operate the college? I don't think we need such high administrative costs.
Alex Shantz November 06, 2012 at 04:44 PM
"Scholarships are available, for those who take education seriously." Great! We have scholarships! Let's deny people a human right to education and throw them scraps. What distributes me is the skyrocketing costs of tuition. What disturbs me is student debt now totals $1 trillion and exceeds credit card debt. What disturbs me is students are forced to spend their whole lives paying off their student debt, just because they wanted to receive a higher education to give back to society. I wonder why the extremist far right hates education.
DBell November 06, 2012 at 05:00 PM
This issue is not who pays what in taxes, the issue is how our representatives are spending what taxes they get from us. Please try and understand the difference.
DBell November 06, 2012 at 05:05 PM
What disturbs me is our state representatives would put our childeren's education on the chopping block (based on passing new taxes or not) instead of a myriad of other funds supported by the states general fund. Why is everything else in the state budget 'secured'? Why is just education on the chopping block?
Bngally November 06, 2012 at 10:18 PM
The top 10% of earners paid 71% of all taxes in 2009. Are you seriously saying that people who go out and earn aren't carrying their weight?

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