Rally to pass Prop 55 fills Quad; Lawmakers, educators encourage students to pass tax that funds schools

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty speaks to students in the Quad at City College urging them to vote for Proposition 55.
Ulysses Ruiz | Staff Photographer |ulyssesruizexpress@gmail.comAssemblymember Kevin McCarty speaks to students in the Quad at City College urging them to vote for Proposition 55. Ulysses Ruiz | Staff Photographer |ulyssesruizexpress@gmail.com
Assemblymember Kevin McCarty speaks to students in the Quad at City College urging them to vote for Proposition 55. Ulysses Ruiz | Staff Photographer |ulyssesruizexpress@gmail.com

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty speaks to students in the Quad at City College urging them to vote for Proposition 55.
Ulysses Ruiz | Staff Photographer |ulyssesruizexpress@gmail.com

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty and educational leaders urged students Oct. 12 to vote for Proposition 55 on this year’s ballot so schools will continue to receive tax support.

McCarty described Proposition 55 as a sound tax policy, requiring wealthy wage-earners to pay their fair share. He expressed his pride in being a product of the Los Rios system.

“We’re investing in our future and our kids, and we can’t turn back,” said McCarty, who appeared at a press conference hosted by City College so students would learn more about the measure from lawmakers, faculty, school board trustees and student leaders.

McCarty described how college tuitions have doubled during the recession, teachers have been laid off across California and budgets cut on preschool and early education.

“It does make a difference to our state’s education system,” said McCarty.

The measure will prevent nearly $4 billion in funding cuts to education. It extends Proposition 30 from 2012 that provides critical revenues to California when the state faces budgetary challenges, according to a press release by Jennifer Wonnacott, campaign media contact for Yes on 55.

Dean Murakami, president of Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, said that California cannot afford not to vote yes on the measure. He described how the budget cuts cost people jobs and how thousand of teachers and classified staff in public education were let go. Thousands of classes were cut at community colleges across the state and 600,000 community college students left.

“That’s more than the total population of the city of Sacramento,” Murakami said. “That’s more students than the entire California state university system. Just think about how many students we lost, how many students we let down. These budget cuts dash the hopes of so many Californians and left them with an uncertain future.”

Murakami explained that the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012 taxed the top 2 percent of the wealthiest Californians and stopped the continual budget cuts. He pointed out that previous concerns connected to the passage of the measure failed to arise.  

“The Prop 30 tax increase did not destroy the economy, millionaires did not flee the state,” Murakami said. “As a matter of fact, with Proposition 30, California moved from the eighth largest economy in the world to the seventh largest economy in the world. We blew right by Brazil.”

Proposition 30 is set to expire in 2018.

“We just can’t go back,” Murakami said. “It’s not kind to give millionaires a tax break and sacrifice your education.”

Zach Newman, president of City College’s Model UN, spoke on rebuilding California’s education system and how students struggle to get classes and finish majors to be able to transfer to four-year universities/colleges because of budget cuts. He mentioned how students drop out of school and how important it is for students to gain jobs.

“We should not stop investing in education because that’s where the future workforce comes from,” Newman said. “This is a prop that definitely helps with that and will help shape the future of many young people like myself that are seeking to do great things in the world.”

Proposition 55 will not increase taxes. It maintains the current income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians for more than 12 years to protect public education and other vital services from cuts. The measure also contains strict accountability requirements.