Of all six propositions on the May 19 special election ballot, Proposition 1A in particular has been the focus of much media attention due to a growing opposition.
Prop 1A would create a larger “rainy day” fund for the state budget that would be used in times of economic crisis and to help relieve the current budget crisis.
The money would come from increased tax revenue of $16 billion, to be collected from the years 2010-2011 through 2012-2013. The fund would aid the government in stabilizing state spending and the state would be required to use a share to pay for education and infrastructure, according to a Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis.
Supporters of the proposition say it must pass in order for education funding to stay intact.
“Prop 1A needs to pass if our students in K-12 schools and community colleges are to be repaid more than $9.3 billion required by Prop 1B,” said Mike Myslinski, spokesperson for the California Teachers Association, which is joining Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in support of the measure.
The CTA and other supporters assert that the money the fund promises to award would bring much needed relief to the suffering state educational system.
“Both Proposition 1A and 1B need to pass,” Myslinski said. “27,000 teachers have received pink slips, class sizes are larger… Proposition 1B would help stop that damage.”
Other groups that support Prop 1A include the University of California Regents, California Taxpayers Association and State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis).
On the other hand, opponents say the measure is too rigid and does not account for future changes in the population, for example.
Marty Hittleman, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said that the proposition has no room for growth. It does not take into consideration California’s aging population, which will require more health care funding in the future.
When it comes to funding universities in the California State University system, as well as those in the University of California system, both could receive cuts to funding as large as 7 percent, should the funds be directed elsewhere in times of economic crisis, he said.
Hittleman said one of the worst provisions of Prop 1A is the amount of power it vests in California’s executive branch.
“[Prop 1A] gives the governor the right to cut any fund he wants to without any action by the legislature,” he said.
Other opponents include the California Faculty Association, California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union.
Yet both sides agree that voters need to be informed about their respective sides and how Prop 1A will affect not only educational funding, but the state budget overall.
More information on Prop 1A, including ballot arguments, can be found at voterguide.sos.ca.gov.
ANA QUIROZ can be reached at email@example.com.