Focus Areas

State Ballot Measures

Voters pass statewide initiatives supported by California State PTA:

Proposition 51

“The Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016”

To continue a strong state-and-local partnership in funding school facilities construction, California State PTA has taken a support position on Proposition 51, which will generate $7 billion in bond revenue for K-12 education facilities. The Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016, (an initiated state statute) will appear on the November 2016 general election ballot.

Key points on Proposition 51 (School Facilities Bond Measure):

  • Safe secure and modern facilities are essential to student achievement- California’s students cannot reach their full potential if adequate facilities are not provided.
  • California has immediate and vital need to construct new facilities as well as modernize existing facilities- the current backlog of unfunded applications totals $2 billion with another $10 billion in identified facilities needs.
  • California’s current school facilities funding system is out of money with no relief in sight.
  • Proposition 51 would generate $9 billion in bond revenue, with $7 billion benefiting K-12education with the remaining $2 billion benefiting community colleges.
    • $3 billion for new construction of K-12 school facilities
    • $3 billion for modernization of existing K-12 school facilities
    • $500 million for K-12 Career Technical Education facilities
    • $500 million for K-12 charter school facilities.

This measure will help ensure that California’s students have access to safe, high quality school facilities that enhance academic achievement and help our students prepare for college and for 21st Century careers.

PTA Rationale for Support

California State PTA Resolution School Facilities Crisis (1990; renewed in 2015) is the authority for the California State PTA to take a support position on Proposition 51.

PROPOSITION 55

Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare

California State PTA has taken a support position on Proposition 55. This constitutional amendment extends by twelve years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings over $250,000 for single filers and over $500,000 for joint filers.

The increased revenues would be allocated to schools and community colleges, budget reserves and debt payments, and health programs, with remaining funds available for these or other state purposes.

Fiscal Impact

  • Increased state revenues ranging from $4 billion to $9 billion each year (in today’s dollars) from 2019 through 2030, depending on the economy and the stock market.
  • Increased funding for schools and community colleges of roughly half of the revenue raised by the measure.
  • Increased funding for health care for low-income people ranging from $0 to $2 billion each year, depending on decisions and estimates made by the Governor’s main budget advisor.
  • Increased budget reserves and debt payments ranging from $60 million to roughly $1.5 billion each year (in today’s dollars), depending primarily on the stock market.

Background

The recession that began in 2008 was particularly hard on California, a state in which a large portion of General Fund Revenue comes from personal income taxes and the state was forced to make significant cuts in education and social safety net programs. In 2012, voters approved Proposition 30, which temporarily raised the state sales tax by one half of 1% and implemented new income tax rates for the wealthiest taxpayers. This helped stabilize the state’s budget situation and avoided the need for further cuts. Many cuts to health and social safety programs have not been restored. The sales tax increase will expire at the end of 2016 and the increased income tax rates will expire at the end of 2018.

PTA Rationale for Support

California State PTA supports efforts to secure financing for public education that will be sufficient to provide optimum educational opportunity for all students.

If Proposition 30 were allowed to sunset, it would slow the growth of the Proposition 98 minimum funding level, negatively impacting an already underfunded system and leading to a new round of painful budget cuts. California schools rank 46th in the nation in per pupil funding.  If this tax extension is not passed, California schools would have approximately $4 billion less funding.

By supporting increased medi-cal funding, this initiative reflects the well-understood link between children’s health, school attendance and success in school.  This measure will provide up to $2 billion in funds in certain years that will be used to improve access to health care for low-income children and their families.

California State PTA Resolutions Adequate and Equitable State School Finance System (1987; renewed in 2009), Post Proposition 13 Funding of Public Education (1979; renewed in 2010), Financing California’s Public Schools (2007) and PTA priority to support public education are among the authorities used to take a support position on Proposition 55.

PROPOSITION 56

Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention, Research, and Law Enforcement. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute

California State PTA has taken a support position on Proposition 56. This measure increases excise taxes on the distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products by $2 per pack effective April 1, 2017. These excise taxes would also apply, for the first time, to certain types of electronic cigarettes (those containing nicotine if sold with liquid containing nicotine referred to as e-cigarettes).

Fiscal Impact

This measure would have a number of fiscal effects on state and local governments. The major impacts of this measure:

  • This measure would result in a net increase in excise tax revenues in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion annually by 2017-18, with revenues deceasing slightly in subsequent years.
  • The measure expands the definition of other tobacco products to include e-cigarettes. This change makes e-cigarettes subject to the taxes passed by voters in Proposition 99 and Proposition 10.
  • Revenue generated by the higher tobacco tax will back fill existing programs under the current tobacco tax which have decreased funding due to the decrease in smokers.
  • New revenues would be used to increase funding for existing healthcare programs and services, tobacco-related prevention and cessation programs, law enforcement programs, medical research on tobacco-related diseases and early childhood development programs.
  • Increased revenues generated by this measure would be deposited directly into a new special fund, called the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 Fund.
  • Revenues deposited into the fund would only be used for purposes set forth in the measure and would not be subject to appropriation by the Legislature.
  • Increased revenues would also be excluded from Proposition 98 funding requirements.

Background

Tobacco products are derived from tobacco plants, contain nicotine, and are intended for human consumption, such as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products that are generally designed to deliver nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals. These devices turn chemicals, including nicotine, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user.

People currently consume different types of cigarette and tobacco products:

  • Smoking cigarettes is the most common way to use tobacco.
  • Other tobacco products can be consumed by smoking or other forms of ingestion. These include cigars, chewing tobacco, and other products made of or containing at least 50 percent tobacco.
  • Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes). These are battery-operated devices that turn specially designed liquid, which can contain nicotine, into a vapor. The vapor is inhaled by the user.
  • Tobacco products are subject to state and federal excise taxes, and state and local sales and use taxes. In contrast, electronic cigarettes are currently not subject to state and federal excise taxes but are subject to state and local sales and use taxes.

Current state law imposes excise taxes on the distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products, such as cigars and chewing tobacco. Tobacco excise taxes are paid by distributors who supply cigarettes and other tobacco products to retail stores. These taxes are typically passed on to consumers as higher prices on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The state’s cigarette excise tax is currently 87 cents; the average retail price of a pack of cigarettes in California is close to $6. California’s cigarette tax is among the lowest in the nation. It is proven that higher cigarette prices drive down smoking rates, particularly among youth.

PTA Rationale for Support

California State PTA believes in the importance of preventing and eliminating factors that may be detrimental to the health, safety and well-being of all children, families and youth.

Education and smoking cessation programs work to save lives by preventing teens, who have been shown to be sensitive to the price of tobacco products, from choosing to smoke in the first place.

California State PTA has supported past measures that increased tobacco taxes, both Proposition 99 and Proposition 10, as well as a ballot measure that failed passage in 2012.

The National PTA Resolution Electronic Cigarettes and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Youth and the California State PTA Resolution Alcohol and Tobacco Use in Youth: Education, Prevention and Intervention (2002) are the authorities used to take a support position on Proposition 56.

PROPOSITION 58

California Education for a Global Economy Initiative: The LEARN Initiative

California State PTA supports Proposition 58, a proposed measure sponsored in the California State Legislature by Senator Lara.

Proposition 58 revises Proposition 227 which required schools to teach English Learners in classes taught nearly all in English.  It eliminated bilingual classes in most cases; however the English-only requirement could be waived at a parent’s request.  Proposition 227 mandated a single, untested program for all schools.  Districts no longer had the right to design their own programs for English Learners.

Proposition 58 does the following:

  • Preserves the requirement that schools ensure students become proficient in English
  • Requires districts to solicit parent and community input in developing language acquisition programs
  • Requires schools to provide English Learners with the option to be taught English in nearly all English
  • Authorizes districts to establish dual-language immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers
  • Allows parents to select an available language acquisition program that best suits their child.

PTA Rationale for Support

  • Support of SB 1174 (Lara) – the bill which put this proposition on the ballot
  • Opposition to Proposition 227
  • California State PTA Position Statement: English Learners must be provided an education that will allow them the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to realize their full potential. . . . Parents have the right and responsibility to participate in all decisions regarding the placement of their children in any program.

“Given the diversity of California, the vast body of research on the benefits of language-immersion programs, and the growing popularity of these schools, clearly public perception has changed on the value of multilingual education programs.” Senator Lara

PROPOSITION 63

Firearms.  Ammunition Sales.  Initiative Statute.

California State PTA supports Proposition 63. This initiative would implement firearm and ammunition reforms in California. The initiative would:

  • Prohibit the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and require their disposal by sale to dealer, destruction or removal from the state.
  • Require individuals to pass a background check and obtain Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition and requires sales be made through licensed ammunition vendors and reported to the Department of Justice.
  • Require lost or stolen firearms and ammunition be reported to law enforcement.
  • Prohibit persons convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms and establish new procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by felons and violent criminals.
  • Require the Department of Justice to provide information about prohibited persons to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Fiscal Impact

  • Increased state costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually related to regulating ammunition sales, likely offset by various regulatory fees.
  • Increased court and law enforcement costs not likely to exceed tens of millions of dollars annually, related to removing firearms from prohibited persons as part of court sentencing proceedings. These could be offset by fees authorized by the measure.
  • Potential increase in correctional costs, not likely to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, related to new and increased penalties.

Background

There is an ongoing debate nationwide and in the State of California between proponents and opponents of gun control related bills and ballot measures. The differences include a vigorous debate over the provisions and application of the Second Amendment to the Constitution and what should be done to insure we have a society safe from gun violence.

From 2002 to 2013, California lost 38,576 individuals to gun violence, more than seven times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Over this same period, 2,258 children were killed by gunshot injuries in California. The same number of children murdered in the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre are killed by gunfire in California every 39 days.

PTA Rationale for Support

California State PTA has a long history and proud tradition of supporting legislation and programs for the safety and protection of children, youth and families.

The National PTA Resolution Sale, Resale and Destruction of Firearms and the California State PTA Resolution Ban on Military Assault-Type Weapons (1989; renewed in 2008) are the authorities used to take a support position on Proposition 63.