Gov. Brown’s compromise tax plan could potentially end cuts & layoffs

Governor Jerry Brown is once again proposing a tax plan that could potentially end cuts, layoffs, and budget cuts to schools.  The Protect Schools and Public Safety Act could will be included in this year’s ballot if enough signatures are collected in its favor.

Brown’s new plan consists of a few minor changes from his previous proposal.  The old plan was one that lasted for five years, with a 1 percent tax increase for those earning $500,000 or more a year, a 1.5 percent tax increase for those earning $600,000 or more a year, a 2 percent tax increase for those earning $1 million or more a year, and an overall half-cent sales tax increase for everyone.  This plan was expected to raise a total of $7 billion each year.

As teachers argued for an even bigger tax hike, Brown rethought his plan and created a compromise.  This new plan included a 1 percent tax increase for those making $500,000 a year, a 2 percent tax increase for those making $600,000 a year, and a 3 percent tax increase for those making $1 million a year or more.  There would also be a quarter-cent sales tax increase for everyone.  The sales tax increase would last for a total of four years, and the income tax hike would last for seven years.  This compromise plan would be expected to raise $9 billion each year.

CVHS staff members were busy over the spring break collecting signatures for a petition that would qualify the Protect Schools and Public Safety Act for the ballot this year.

An enthusiastic CVHS P.E. teacher, Marie Gray, actively encouraged the petition by collecting signatures from staff members and parents.

“I think it’s great,” said Gray.  She is all for the plan, as it promises to reduce budget cuts and layoffs, which are causing all kinds of problems for schools.  Cuts affect the P.E. department greatly as money for equipment is a big part of sports.  With greater and greater budget cuts, P.E. classes would only be able to offer their students sports options that require fewer materials.

“The plan gives us, as educators, the tools we need to teach our students with new and innovative ideas,” said Gray.  She believes that the plan would be able to solve most of our problems given time.

However, sophomore Kevin Brum views the tax plan in a different light.

“I do not believe that you should punish people who are successful in our state.  We need to stop spending, not raise taxes,”  said Brum.

According to Brum, California already has high taxes, and raising them even more would not make anything better.  In fact, he believes it would have just the opposite effect.  Many people have already left the state of California due to its high taxes, and passing Brown’s new tax plan would only cause more people to move out of the state, leaving its problems unsolved, the sophomore said.

CVHS teacher Eric Bahm thinks differently on this issue.  As the plan is only temporary, Bahm worries that the problem may not be fixed in the seven years proposed by the plan.  However, he points out that if the plan were to be passed, and if it were working, it could be made permanent.

“The fact that it’s temporary makes it easier for people to swallow,” said Bahm.  Perhaps those that are against the Protect Schools and Public Safety Act could look at the plan and accept it because it would not last forever.  As long as it fixes the problem, a few years of tax increases may be worth it, the teacher thinks.

Bahm feels that the compromise is a good idea because it would stop layoffs, which would, in turn, stop classes sizes from going up to crazy levels.  The large class sizes greatly frustrate teachers and provide a poor learning environment for the students themselves.

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