Kids Count Campaign Demands
Kids Count Campaign Demands:
Get It! Give It! Guard It!
RESTRUCTURING THE TAX SYSTEM TO ENSURE THAT CORPORATIONS ARE EQUITABLY TAXED AND THAT ENOUGH MONEY IS BEING COLLECTED ADEQUATELY TO FUND ALL PUBLIC SERVICES
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
California’s education is in a major state of emergency. Education along with many other public services are constantly being cut, and we are in our 9th year of budget down fall. Although California’s budget is looking grim, California’s economy continues to grow. Many oil companies doing business in California, development agencies, and large corporations are reporting record profits. These record profits are by no means reflected in their level of contribution to public services. If California’s budget is ever going to get out of a state of deficit, there is a drastic need to increase revenues. Elected officials need to start looking at individuals and businesses which are currently not contributing their fair share, yet benefiting from California’s land, resources, business and employment pool. As long as we allow Republicans to have a grid lock on reforming or increasing taxes with the super majority rule on taxes, we will continue to have low income communities and new home owners carry a major part of the burden in funding public services. We will all benefit from well educated students and therefore, we should all contribute equitably to funding a quality education for all of our children.
WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS?
- Simple Majority: Repealing the 2/3 vote on tax reform and returning to a simple majority.
Although Democrats make up a majority of both Assembly and Senate, a small number of Republicans are able to halt the process of increasing taxes at the state level. Literally two Senators and two Assembly members have the power of increasing any taxes. Super majority allows four individuals to hold a lot of power in this process. Since most Republicans are against any form of tax increase, this has left California without any increased revenue which has resulted in that state borrowing federal funds year after year to make ends meet. If we want to end this nine year cycle of deficit, we must return to a simple majority.
- Split Roll: Taxing commercial and industrial property at a higher rate than residential property
Since Proposition 13, California’s property tax burden has gradually shifted from businesses to homeowners. Under Prop 13, unless a property changes in ownership, property value and therefore property tax does not need to be re-assessed. Commercial and industrial property does not change hands as often as homes do. In addition, there have been many ways that businesses have disguised their sales to dodge reassessment of their property value to avoid an increase in taxes. A Split Roll would allow homeowners to still be protected under the property tax cap established under Proposition 13, but it would force corporations to pay a higher percent of property taxes, reassess their properties, and essentially pay their fair share. A split roll would give California a $4 billion per year revenue increase!
- Oil Severance Tax: Taxing Oil Extraction
California is the only state in the whole country that does not tax oil extraction. Alaska charges their oil companies a 25% tax per barrel extracted. California is the third largest oil producer in the country, and yet we are the only one of the 22 major oil states that gives the industry a free ride. In 2006, Chevron and other oil companies in California had the audacity to set a new standard in campaign financing by spending $150 million to defeat prop 87, which would have steered the tax proceeds to alternative fuel programs. If California put a 6% tax on oil extraction, California’s budget would see a minimum $25 billion increase in its budget.
- Repeal Corporate Tax Breaks: Limit the amount of tax breaks that large corporations receive
Since the passage of Prop 13, the average person’s taxes have increased, while large corporations have more and more ways of evading the amount of taxes they pay. Repealing certain tax breaks would limit the ways in which corporations can maneuver their gains and losses, calculate their income, and receive additional tax credits in order to reduce the amount of taxes they pay. Reducing the tax breaks would give California’s budget a minimum increase of $1.3 billion per year.
WE WANT A CLEAR AND EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Over five decades after the legislated end to segregation, California’s education system continues to be very segregated not only by race, but by income, and resources. Students attending schools in low income neighborhoods tend to have lower paid and less experienced teachers, less culturally enriching programs, more run down facilities, less access to school materials, and less access to funds in order to provide their students with a high quality education. Even though students in low income schools start at a disadvantage and need additional resources and services in order to meet a given achievement standard, their schools tend to get additional funding cuts due to their Academic Performing Index (API), their attendance, and their decreasing enrollment. If we want to give all students an equal opportunity at a quality education, funding needs to be distributed equitably both at a state and a local level to reflect the needs of the school. In addition, a new funding formula is needed to simplify California’s complicated education funding system. This will allow for legislators, elected officials, school administration and community members alike to understand the funding system, and be able to take part in holding local and state government accountable to an equitable distribution of funds.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
- Targeted funding formula: Implementing a funding formula that gives targeted funding
If we want every student to meet state standards, California needs to meet every student’s needs! Revenue allocation should be guided by student needs and the funding formula should reflect that certain communities such as; low income, English Language Learners, and Special Education students have additional needs that require additional targeted funding to meet the needs of those individual students. Revenue allocations should also reflect the needs of the specific community and should adjust funding allocations based on regional cost differences such as; cost of living and labor market conditions. Lastly, the funding system needs to be simple, transparent, and easily understood by public, educators, and decision makers alike.There are many formulas that exist that attempt to address the above needs. The Kids Count Campaign is endorsing the Bersin, Kirst, and Liu funding formula (BKL Formula) as a potential formula that would address these needs.
|BKL Formula Break Down
BKL Formula has five main components:
1. Base Funding
2. Special Education
3. Targeted funding for low-income students and English learners
5. Hold harmless condition
For More information:
INSTITUTIONALIZE STUDENT AND COMMUNITY VOICE IN EDUCATION FUNDING
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
California’s students are experts in education system, yet their experience and opinion is never sought or considered by decision makers when trying to make decisions around funding priorities or any education policies for that matter. Even though students, parents, educators and community members are all affected by funding priorities and decisions, there are limited avenues for these stake holders to get informed about, understand or weigh in on those decisions. The few spaces that do exist for input tend to be inaccessible and hold no decision making power. Without these spaces, there is not only a lack of voice in Sacramento, but there is a lack of accountability for those who implement the reforms. Thus, the reform loses its focus and vision along the years. If we want ownership and investment from education stakeholders in the education system, there needs to spaces where these stakeholders can have meaningful engagement in the process and spaces to hold decision makers accountable.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
- Voice and Power at the State Level:
Implementing a representative committee of students, parents, educators and community that have input and decision making power at the state level.
If we want to make sure that we maintain an equitable funding system we need a space where community voice holds power and is not tokenized. In order for this to happen, there needs to be a space where community members can weigh in on funding decisions and priorities from the beginning of the process. The governor’s finance department is the first body that deals with the funding formula and creates the budget that goes to the legislature for revisions and approval. Education stake holders need to have a place at the finance committee level so that they are able to weigh in from the first moment that the education budget is created.
GET IT, GIVE IT, GUARD IT!
The faith of California lies in what we decided to do for our children today. The matter at hand is not weather we have funds or resources available to provide for the kids of California, the matter at hand is weather California as a state is willing to re organize its priorities and the abundance of funds and resources to make sure that every kid has a quality education, access to the resources that exist, and an opportunity to a future. We can continue to fail the children of California and continue to push them out of school, pink slip their teachers, not provide them with the materials and environment they need to meet the standards, and we can continue provide for the most fortunate children of the state and leave the rest behind, or we can decide through our policies and funding strategies and our decision making system, that KIDS COUNT!