October 25, 2016

CA Needs a More Stable Source of Funding – Not Temporary Quick Fixes

As Election Day approaches in a couple of weeks, I wanted to take a moment to talk about a proposition that, if passed, will not be sound economic policy for California. I usually don’t agree with editorials by the San Francisco Chronicle, but their “Chronicle recommends: No on state Prop. 55” hits the nail on the head.

If California voters pass Prop. 55 on November 8th, it would extend temporary tax hikes on the highest-income Californians for an additional 12 years and further increase our state’s reliance on temporary financial “quick fixes.”

Granted, by passing Prop. 30 four years ago, we were able to restore some of the funding for essential state services impacted during the recession, most notably education. However, Governor Brown promised us the surtaxes and sales tax hikes would be temporary. With Prop. 55, it looks like the surtaxes may become a bit more permanent. 

California deserves a more stable source of funding. Overreliance on the wealthiest taxpayers – a source of revenue most highly susceptible to fluctuations in the market and economy – is not sustainable fiscal policy in the long term. In order to fully fund our education system, we need a different solution.

Our elected officials ought to facilitate a serious discussion that leads to greater revenue predictability and stability. This should include reforming the income tax structure, operating the state within the confines of a balanced budget and accelerating the pace of savings during periods of surplus.

Prop. 55 is not a lasting solution. It’s a quick fix that will put the future of our education system in jeopardy.