California Educator

October/November 2020

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C T A J O I N E D A group of state leaders this summer in calling for a bold solution to the unprecedented eco- nomic crisis pushing millions of California families to the edge — a wealth tax on the state's most extraordi- narily fortunate individuals to provide support and help to the many who are struggling. Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) unveiled the first-in-the-nation California Wealth Tax, AB 2088, which would generate $7.5 billion a year by applying a 0.4 percent tax on the net worth of individuals (excluding real estate) in excess of $30 million. is proposal would truly tax the most fortunate among us — about 30,000 people, or the top 0.1 percent. ese are the same billion- aires who have seen their wealth balloon by more than 25 percent while millions of California families wonder how they are going to pay their rent. "California students, parents and educators are facing a school year like none we've seen before," says CTA Pres- ident E. Toby Boyd. "Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our schools and colleges, California already ranked 39th in per-student education funding. Now, with budget deferrals and a reduction in Prop. 98 revenues, schools are facing a $20 billion shortfall. Our most vulnerable students and communities pay the highest price when schools don't have a stable, reliable funding source from year to year." In addition , Assembly Memb er Migu el Santiago (D-Los Angeles) introduced AB 1253, which would gen- erate $6.5 billion annually by raising income taxes on households that earn more than $1 million per year. Both bills were introduced in the context of growing inequal- ity. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 154 billionaires who live in California became more than $175 billion richer, and 11 new billionaires joined the club. Unfortunately, both bills failed to reach the Assembly floor for a vote before the end of the legislative session, so they will have to be reintroduced next session. Californi a public scho ol s are facin g a p and em- ic-caused $20 billion deficit next year, which will lead to draconian cuts to services and supports that will hurt our students, educators and communities, says kinder- garten teacher and CTA Board member Erika Jones. " The COVID-19 crisis is deepening the impact of racial, health and economic injustices in every corner of the state," says Jones, a member of United Teachers Los Angeles. "We are a state of great innovation and wealth, the fifth-largest economy in the world and home of the greatest number of billionaires in the country, yet 30 percent of our students don't have access to With Prosperity as Goal, Time to Commit to Equity State leaders propose wealth tax on ultra-rich By Julian Peeples CTA joined elected officials and community leaders in a virtual press conference to call for a tax on the rich. 37 O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 Advocacy

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