Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
BURLINGAME – Sending the clear message that big corporations must pay their fair share at a time when public schools are devastated by state cuts, CTA President David A. Sanchez announced today that more than enough signatures have been turned in to qualify for the November ballot the union’s initiative to repeal nearly $2 billion in corporate tax breaks. Sanchez also criticized lawmakers and the governor for wanting to renege on an agreement signed into law last summer to restore $11.2 billion owed to public schools.
“With our schools being slashed by $17 billion over the past two years, and 26,000 teachers potentially facing layoff, now is not the time for the state to be giving tax breaks to large corporations and oil companies,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Teachers want big businesses to pay their fair share in these dire times of deep cuts everywhere. And teachers want lawmakers to keep their promise to restore school funding when the economy improves.”
In a news conference today at CTA headquarters, on California’s 28th annual Day of the Teacher, Sanchez announced that the campaign to qualify the Repeal Corporate Tax Loopholes Act turned in more than 800,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The measure has not qualified yet, but only 433,971 valid signatures are needed.
The Repeal Corporate Tax Loopholes Act would nullify ill-timed corporate tax breaks approved by the Legislature last year. The initiative would stop a small number of large corporations from receiving additional tax credits, from shifting operating losses to future tax years to reduce current taxes, and from changing the way these companies calculate their incomes in order to reduce their taxes.
CTA’s ballot measure news comes as a new study shows corporations’ share of the property tax burden has declined since passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 in nearly every county in the state, with more residents shouldering higher payments, according to the report by the California Tax Reform Association. See the study at www.CalTaxReform.org. More information about CTA’s initiative and the Taxpayers for Jobs and Against Corporate Handouts campaign can be found at www.PayTheirFairShare.com.
The measure is sorely needed as the state faces a monumental $20 billion deficit and the governor prepares to release a revised budget plan Friday that will likely seek even deeper cuts to schools and state services than his January plan. Waves of education cuts have rocked school districts statewide, causing class sizes to soar and eliminating countless music, art and vocational education classes, as well as many summer school programs – and 16,000 teaching jobs last year.
Two Bay Area pink-slipped educators warned of the impacts of cuts on their students. Art McGaw, a Millbrae School District music teacher for 28 years, said the district’s gutted music program may shut down if he is laid off and urged districts to protect music classes to give students a well-rounded education. “If the music dies in our public schools, a key part of learning dies with it,” McGaw said. “Children’s education should be our top priority, and music should be part of the classroom experience.”
Hayward Unified school nurse Bonita Weeks noted that today is also National School Nurse Day. She is one of eight Hayward nurses to get layoff notices – potentially leaving only two nurses for 21,000 students. “A lack or education has a negative effect on a child’s future,” Weeks said, “but a lack of healthcare may prevent them from having a future.”
Sanchez also unveiled a new CTA television ad honoring teachers that declares, in part, that educators and education support professionals are “part of the solution to building stronger schools and a better California for all of us.” Watch the ad at www.cta.org.
Video of news conference
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.