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School board trustee takes side of teachers at State Capitol, warns long term cost of underfunding schools will be 'even more costly' and the answer is to tax the rich

GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS RELEASE

SACRAMENTO (May 12, 2011) - As teachers and students protest at the State Capitol this week, a Green Party school board member from Hollister, Ca. said today the state of California "has undermined public education through underfunding schools" and warned the long term costs because of that will be "even more costly." He said the answer to the budget crisis is for the "rich to pay their fair share."

The Green Party of California supports the actions by thousands of teachers, students and social justice activists here to "occupy" the State Capitol this week to pressure the Legislature and Governor to rethink their plans of balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable citizens in the state.

"The state has undermined public education through underfunding schools. The long term consequences are going to be much more costly if you factor in the correlation between the increased incarceration rate of adults who failed in school and the fact that undereducated people will not have the means to support themselves. Instead of putting the burden of funding schools onto the backs of working people--by either forcing us to pay more taxes or underfunding schools--the wealthy people of this state should simply be forced to pay their fair share," said Joe Navarro, a Trustee of the Hollister School District.

Navarro condemned the attacks on public worker unions as "scare tactics" by "conservative politicians, political think tanks and the media itself," noting that some attacks on public workers like teachers come from non-union workers.

"Unionized workers have made gains (and) the gains have benefited all working people. Things like the eight hour day, ending child labor, over-time pay, health and welfare benefits and labor laws to protect workers' rights were a result of unions. To argue that if I'm suffering therefore you should suffer too makes no sense. The opposite should be true; we should argue that if unionized workers can improve their benefits or at least hold on to them, we should all be able to as well," Navarro said.

"There are options to help the state relieve this crisis. One of them is to tax the rich...in comparison to the rest of us, wealthy corporations pay a smaller portion of taxes, or do not pay taxes at all. The rest of us, working people--the majority--pay the lion's share of taxes.

"I believe that anyone involved in education, including school board members, parents, teachers and other school employees should unite and oppose funding cuts and demand that the legislature take the bold action of forcing the rich to pay their fair share of taxes to offset this budget crisis," Navarro concluded.

The full text of Mr Navarro's statement can be read here.

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URL: http://www.cagreens.org/press/pr110512.shtml

Contacts:
Laura Wells, Spokesperson, 510.504.4254,
Hank Chapot, 510.504.3538,
Cres Vellucci, Press Secretary, 916.996.9170,

The Green Party of California
PO Box 2828
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437
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