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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?

Proposition 30 or 38? Which Should You Choose?

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. And both aim to bring funding to the state’s severely underfund schools. On the east end of the San Gabriel Valley, Proposition 30, sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown, has gotten much of the press.

Parents and educators have spoken to school boards across the area and even city councils, including La Verne, San Dimas and Claremont, lobbying for support of Prop 30.

Meantime, supporters of Proposition 38 have enlisted the help of actor Edward James Olmos to promote that measure.

There’s little doubt both 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.

For local election coverage, see our  Election Guide 2012 topic page here.

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