Jews push for Prop. 30

With recent polls showing that support has fallen below 50 percent for Proposition  30 — Gov. Jerry Brown’s temporary tax hike initiative that would help fund education across California — Jewish organizers working on behalf of the measure are working hard to convince Californians to approve the measure. 

“The funding that it will secure and the devastating cuts that it will prevent are reason enough for all Californians to get interested in Prop. 30,” Bend the Arc Southern California Regional Organizer Maya Barron said. “It’s really scary that the polling numbers are slipping.”

California’s 2012-13 budget plan includes $6 billion worth of “trigger cuts” that will take effect if Proposition 30 fails to gain passage. Proposition 30 would raise the income tax on individuals making more than $250,000 per year for seven years and would increase sales tax in California to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent for four years. If voters reject the measure, K-12 schools, community colleges and the state university system would have to cut a combined $5.8 billion from their 2012-13 budget. LAUSD Superintendent John E. Deasy has said that if the proposition doesn’t pass, 15 days will be cut from the 2012-13 school year, beyond the five days of classes that already have been cut.

“The impact on education is so important, and will take effect at all levels,” Barron said. “Three weeks less of school in their public schools will make a significant difference in their lives.”

A poll conducted in mid-October by the University of Southern California for the Los Angeles Times showed that only 46 percent of Californians support Proposition 30, while 42 percent oppose it. 

Proponents of the measure, including the California Teachers Association, have spent nearly $62 million advocating for Proposition 30; opponents have spent almost $53 million, with more than half of that coming from investor Charles Munger Jr. 

Over the last month, Bend the Arc has held four house parties to talk about its recommendations for how to vote on the different California ballot measures, paying particular attention to Proposition 30. 

Opponents of Prop. 30 argue that the trigger cuts can be avoided. 

“The trigger cuts that are threatened are like a kidnapping plot,” Susan Shelley said at a debate about Proposition 30 held at Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills on Oct. 28. “They are not legally required; they are not mandatory.” 

Video of the event was posted on YouTube by Shelley, a Republican who ran for Congress in the West San Fernando Valley earlier this year with the endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a group that has spent more than $600,000 opposing Prop. 30. 

California Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield, who spoke in favor of Proposition 30 at the Woodland Hills debate, rejected Shelley’s assertion. 

Gov. Brown “is going to veto anything that we try to do to rejigger the triggers,” Blumenfield said.