California Federation of Teacher’s response to falsehoods about the Millionaires Tax
We regret that the California Teachers Association (CTA) leadership has issued a flier filled with misinformation about the Millionaires Tax to its members and the public. This effort to confuse and mislead is a grave disservice to everyone seeking new revenues for schools and services. The flier is factually inaccurate, both about the Millionaires Tax and the governor’s proposal. Here’s the truth about just two falsehoods.
FALSEHOOD #1: In boldface, the CTA flier claims “This is direct text from the Millionaires Tax: “none of the funds can be used to support programs primarily funded by the state.””
THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. This quote appears nowhere in the initiative, and it runs completely counter to the purpose of the Millionaires Tax, which is to restore funding that has been cut from programs primarily funded by the state. Ask CTA’s leaders where this “quote” came from.
FALSEHOOD #2: The CTA flier claims that the governor’s tax will increase “Prop 98 funding by nearly $5 billion for the 2012-13 budget year.”
THIS IS ALSO UNTRUE. The governor’s own budget projects that his tax will bring in just half of that, $2.5 billion, to Prop. 98 [Governor’s Budget Summary, 2012-1013, p. 136, “the funding levels above reflect a $2.5 billion increase in the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee in 2012-13 assuming passage of the governor’s tax proposal.”].
CTA Leadership Stands with Business Roundtable
The same day that the CTA leadership issued its flier, the California Business Roundtable, representing PG&E, Chevron and other large corporations, came out in opposition to the Millionaires Tax. It stopped short of endorsing Governor Brown’s proposal, however. The reason? According to the Sacramento Bee (March 9), “Roundtable spokesman Kirk Clark said the business group was waiting to see whether Brown would come through with pension reductions as well as changing environmental laws and business regulations to make it easier for firms to operate in California.”
The CTA leadership has now aligned itself with the most reactionary forces in California in opposition to the Millionaires Tax. CTA leaders are standing together with the 1%’s business lobby, which is actively working to undermine the hard-earned pension benefits of CTA’s own members, and seeking the destruction of public employee pensions as a quid pro quo for their endorsement of the governor’s tax.
Millionaires Tax: The Solution
The Millionaires Tax will bring in $6 billion to fund schools and services. It will tax only millionaires. It has just come out on top of the seventh straight poll assessing voter preferences for the three competing revenue measures. The newest poll also clearly demonstrates that in a multiple measure ballot scenario, the Millionaires Tax would win. A Public Policy Institute Poll released on March 8 shows the governor’s sales tax and personal income tax increase at just 52% support. Do you want to put all your hopes for new funding on that one measure’s uncertain chances?
At a moment when the students and families of California desperately need new revenues, it is astonishing the CTA leadership would attempt to create a political atmosphere charged with lies and confusion. All organizations that understand the need for revenues should be uniting around the ballot measure most likely to win. Poll after poll shows likely voters want to tax millionaires. President Obama has stated his support for taxing millionaires. CTA leaders, in their zeal for backdoor dealing and politics-as-usual in the service of the 1%, seem determined to poison the well and destroy the best opportunity for their members and the people of California to restore and refund our state.
For more answers to questions about the Millionaires Tax, click here for the “Rhetoric vs Reality” one pager.