Why the Green Party Endorses Proposition 30

The Green Party endorses Prop 30, but with many reservations.

On the positive side, the GPCA supports progressive taxation, and Prop 30’s tax increases are mildly more progressive then at present, on some of the state’s highest income levels.
In addition, the GPCA generally opposes ballot-box budgeting, and Prop 30’s increased revenue would not be restricted to any specific program(s), but instead would go to the state’s General Fund. This also helps address the entire budget gap, rather than earmarking funds to only some areas, thus leaving other areas vulnerable to more draconian cuts.
However, instead of Prop 30’s regressive increase in the sales tax, the GPCA would’ve supported a far more progressive tax for the highest income brackets. Even if this insufficient measure passes, it will leave many needed services unfunded.
More broadly, the GPCA believes that California’s tax system needs comprehensive reform, which Prop 30 is not; and in not pursuing sufficient comprehensive change, the state may be missing a historic opportunity. Instead, Prop 30’s limited and temporary measures are presented in a crisis manner, such that if Prop 30 does not pass, dire consequences for the state’s most vulnerable would follow - $6 billion of automatic 'trigger' cuts for our public schools; healthcare providers and recipients; providers and recipients of in-home supportive services; and a growing number of others needing the social safety net.
This crisis was unnecessary and is a function of our broken democracy. California has both a structural budget deficit and a structural democracy deficit.
In a healthy multi-party democracy (with proportional representation for the legislature, ranked choice voting for governor, public financing of elections and debate inclusion for all ballot-qualified candidates), the 2010 elections would likely have produced a more clear mandate for which ballot measures for the November 2012 election should come out of the legislature and be supported by the governor to deal with the budget.
In 2010, the only candidate talking about Prop 13 reform and ending the 2/3 requirement for the legislature to raise taxes – Green Laura Wells - was excluded from the debates. Democratic candidate Jerry Brown said he would put any tax increase before the people, but never what kind. Republican Meg Whitman only talked about tax cuts.  The result was an election with no public mandate.
Instead it came down post-election to the new Governor and several interest groups each crafting their own measures, then slugging it out financially and politically until only two were left standing – Brown’s Prop 30 and Molly Munger’s Prop 38. The Millionaires Tax – which was polling ahead of the Governor’s, dropped out and folded into Prop 30 in exchange for making Prop 30 more progressive – a triumph for the 'tax the rich' and Occupy movements, but perhaps also the biggest lost opportunity had it gone onto the ballot. Then the Oil Severance Tax – driven mostly by college students, without big money – never made it close to qualifying.
This is not the way for the state to decide how it raises and spends money. But given this is the status quo; the Green Party endorses Prop 30 as the best short-term option in a long-term crisis.
In the long term, Greens believe in comprehensive tax reform including a progressive income tax; natural resources extraction taxes such as an oil severance tax; pollution taxes like a carbon tax; closing corporates loopholes and eliminating corporate welfare; addressing the problem in Prop 13 that commercial land is not being taxed via enacting a split roll, and more comprehensively enacting a land value tax where the socially-created value of land is retained by society; and legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana - all while cutting income taxes for the average worker and payroll taxes for small businesses, so that we reward work and a healthy environment, penalize pollution and waste, and keep the unearned profit out of speculation and monopolies.

More on Proposition 30 from the California Official Voter Information Guide:


News Type: