Keep tax entensions to save higher education

The California Teachers Association is currently conducting a weeklong series of protests aimed to prevent additional cuts to public education.

The protesters support Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to pass a series of tax extensions that would help alleviate the remaining $15.4 billion deficit.

[X]press has continually supported Brown’s tax increases, without which K-12 and higher education would incur more devastating cuts.

If the state fails to enact the extension, which would maintain a 1 percent increase on sales, vehicle and income taxes that were implemented in 2009, the California State University system would receive an additional $500 million reduction to its budget and SF State’s share would be about $35 million.

Furthermore, the K-12 system would face an additional $4 billion cut to a budget that has already been decreased 12.9 percent since the 2007-08 fiscal year.

California cannot continue to weaken our education system with cut after cut to its budget. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, California ranks 31st in per pupil spending.

That is unacceptable for a state that once provided one of the best all-around educations in the country.

The teachers’ protests are an attempt to place education as a top policy priority once more. Their approach, however, differs from Brown’s proposal.

Since his gubernatorial campaign last year, Brown has stated his intention to have voters decide the fate of the extensions in a special election this summer.

The teachers, on the other hand, believe the legislature should bypass the public’s opinion and approve the extensions themselves.

While [X]press admires Brown’s commitment to the state’s direct democracy system, putting the extension to a vote is naive and detrimental to the fate of the public schools.

California voters have a history of poor fiscal decision-making. Since the 1978 approval of Proposition 13, voters have embraced a three-decade backlash against taxes.

Unfortunately, they cannot be trusted to make the right decision in this case.

And with the CSUs and K-12 schools in limbo until a decision is made, the legislature must act quickly and unilaterally approve the tax extension.

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