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The Urgency of Prop 30


We owe it to our children to pass Proposition 30.

If you care about children, students, and the future of our workforce, you should support Prop 30.

It’s that simple.

It’s not hyperbole or political fear-mongering to say that California and its schools will face destructive consequences if Prop 30 fails. There is no shell game or secrecy behind this proposition.

Most importantly, now is not the time to point fingers.

If you were on a sinking boat, and someone threw you a raft to save your life, you wouldn’t complain that the raft was too small or that it arrived too late, or that your ship shouldn’t be sinking in the first place.

You would jump in the raft.

Anyone who chooses to play partisan games or blame past leadership is missing the point entirely. Prop 30 is our best and most responsible opportunity to make our world a better place for our next generation.

Prop 30 is the lifeline that we as intellectually honest Californians know that we need to rescue us in these difficult financial times.

If Prop. 30 passes, we will begin to restore California and stave off deeper cuts to our educational system.

Santa Barbara County K-12 schools would face $27.8 million in cuts if Prop 30 fails. The Santa Barbara Unified School District could lose nearly $7 million. The number is in the billions statewide.

Prop 30 is designed to tackle the state’s severe budget problems by temporarily raising the statewide sales tax one-quarter cent and temporarily increasing personal income taxes for those making above $250,000 annually. The proposal would generate at least $6 billion for the state. That’s money that Governor Jerry Brown will use for schools primarily, and other public services.

Voters should not confuse Prop 30 with Prop. 38. Prop 30 will fund California’s community colleges and universities. Prop 38 will not. Prop 30 is the only comprehensive approach on the ballot that helps to solve the state’s budget problems. Prop 30 is also supported by educational leaders such as the Santa Barbara Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education, and local education leaders.

Local schools face further torrential cuts if Prop 30 doesn’t pass, including teacher layoffs, a shorter school year, and a continual erosion of the curriculum.

In addition to helping our K-12 schools, Prop 30 funds community colleges and prevents further cuts to universities. It also allows fees to be frozen at UCs and even lowered at California State Universities.

Prop 30’s passage will also help boost the economy and our businesses.

I have spoken with business leaders from many industries and they all say that the reason they choose to locate in California is because of the access to skilled workers who come from universities and community colleges.

We know that community colleges and universities have been wrecked by state budget cuts. The loss in funding has meant higher class fees and tuition, fewer classes, and ultimately a huge drop in the number of people going to college.

According to the California Workforce Investment Board, nine out of 10 jobs in the state will require college training over the next 10 years.

Higher education is our best economic advantage. Anything we do to reduce the number of graduates every year is a shortsighted move in the long run.

We must pass Prop 30. It is the lifeline we need to save our schools.

Passing Prop 30 is a relatively small sacrifice for Californians, considering what’s at stake.

If there was ever a time for Republicans and Democrats to come together in support of a proposition, this is it. A “Yes” vote on Prop. 30 would mean we can transcend ideology and personal biases and do what’s right for our children.

Das Williams is California's 35th District assemblyman and chair of the Higher Education Committee

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