In 2012 California raised the state’s top income tax rate nearly 30 percent to 13.3 percent to boost education funding. Proposition 98 spending on K-12 jumped accordingly:
By 2015 California’s school funding already ranked in the middle of states according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, by 2016 the National Center for Education Statistics ranked the state in the top 15, and funding grew faster than any other state over the succeeding five years. Federal and local funds add billions more, lifting annual spending per pupil to nearly $18,000. Yet even before COVID, California’s schools were laying off teachers and understaffing classrooms. That’s because pension spending grew even faster. After a ballot measure to reform pensions was scuttled by then Attorney General Kamala Harris in 2013, pension spending more than tripled at San Francisco Unified and nearly quadrupled at Fresno Unified.
Some lawmakers have proposed more tax increases, which we have worked to stop. More tax increases will be proposed if pensions are not addressed. Many lawmakers would like to reform pensions but to succeed they will need long term protection from retribution by government employee unions. That’s where we come in. Our job is to liberate lawmakers to serve the general interest. Unopposed in the legislature for decades, government employee unions have instilled a fear in lawmakers that has created an environment not unlike Soviet domination of Eastern European puppet regimes. Like NATO, organizations like ours have to be in Sacramento in force and for the long haul. To help, see here.