Policy & Finance > Elections

Responses to EdSource infographic comparing Props. 30 and 38



After publishing our infographic that compares Prop. 30 and Prop. 38, we received the following responses from the campaigns and others knowledgeable about the propositions and the issues involved. Free free to add your own response to our infographic below.

Response from Brad Williams, Prop. 38 campaign

  1. The infographic indicates that Prop 38 raises taxes on single filers with incomes above $7,300 or so. It is true that Prop 38 raises tax RATES on taxable income above that amount.  But it doesn’t start actually raising taxes for anyone with incomes below roughly $12,000, and many taxpayers won’t pay additional taxes until their incomes get in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. The reason is the unused personal, dependent, renters’ and other credits allowed under current law, which wipes out all tax liabilities in California for many low and moderate income filers. These filers would continue to pay no taxes even if Prop 38 passes. According to testimony by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, about 6 out of the 15 million personal income tax filers would pay no new taxes under Prop. 38. Most of them are in the less-than-$50,000 income level.
  2. On the charts showing where the money goes, the EdSource infographic states that 30% in the first four years goes to pay off state debt. That is true, but what doesn’t come through is that the purpose of the debt payments is to free up money currently being spent from the General Fund for that purpose so it can be redirected to higher ed and other non-K-12 portions of the budget. It’s the counterpart to the roughly 50% of revenues in Prop 30 that is used to support non-Prop. 98 programs.

Response from Carol Kocivar, president of the California State PTA

  1. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, under Prop. 38, higher tax rates would result in higher tax liabilities on roughly 60 percent of state personal income tax returns. Personal, dependent, senior, and other tax credits, among other factors, would continue to eliminate all tax liabilities for many lower-income tax filers, even if they have income in a bracket affected by the measure’s rate increases. Here is the link to the analysis:
  2. What if Prop. 30 fails and Prop. 38 passes?  The budget is not premised on this scenario and many have said that this would be a game changer. The legislature could revise the budget, knowing billions of dollars would be available for schools within a very short time and that bond debt payments would start, changing the trigger cut projections considerably.

Response from John Mockler, a supporter of Prop. 30

  1. Revenues Gained from Proposition 30 also increase Proposition 98 requirements in the 2011-12 year. The K-12 gain is $1.4 billion or, put another way, the loss of Proposition 30 means a loss to K-12 schools of $1.4 billion for that year. This is because in California we accrue revenues so that part of revenues for the 2012 calender year are booked to the 2011-12 year.
  2. 2012-13 is a Test 1 and a Maintenance Factor restoration year. That is because, should Proposition 30 pass, State General Fund Revenues increase more than the growth in Personal Income. So Proposition 98 receives 40% of these new revenues and then adds more than 50% of the same revenues or more than 90% of all increased revenues.

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14 Responses to “Responses to EdSource infographic comparing Props. 30 and 38”

  1. Bob Bryan said

    on October 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    On proposition 30, besides the education statement which ends with a period(.) it states guarantees public safety realignment funding, is that for police, fire dept. life-guards est.?? Then at the bottom it states revenues for funding state budget.
    This does not look like all the funds well go to education.

    On proposition 38, what I see here is for four of the twelve years is for repaying state debt. Is that school debt?

    • navigio replied

      on October 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      ” (b) Moneys in the Education Debt Service Fund shall be used solely to pay debt service on bonds, or to redeem or defease bonds, maturing in a subsequent fiscal year, that either (1) were or are issued by the state for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of pre-kindergarten through university school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for such school facilities (“school bonds”); or (2) to the limited extent permitted by subdivision (c), were or are issued by the state for children’s hospital or other general obligation bonds.
      (c) From moneys transferred to the Education Debt Service Fund, the Controller shall transfer, as an expenditure reduction to the General Fund, amounts necessary to offset the cost of current-year debt service payments made from the General Fund on school bonds, children’s hospital, or other general obligation bonds, or to redeem or defease school bonds, children’s hospital, or other general obligation bonds, as directed by the Director of Finance; provided, however, that no funds in the Education Debt Service Fund shall be used to offset the cost of current-year debt service payments on children’s hospital or other general obligation bonds, or to redeem or defease children’s hospital or other general obligation bonds, until and unless the Controller, at the direction of the Director of Finance, has first fully reimbursed the General Fund for the cost of current-year debt service payments on all outstanding school bonds. Funds so transferred shall not constitute General Fund proceeds of taxes appropriated pursuant to Article XIII B of the California Constitution, for purposes of Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution.”

      In other words, the goal is for the money to be used first for school related bonds and to free up that same amount in the general fund for the state to use elsewhere (eg community colleges.. :-) ). In addition, hospital and GO bond debt services can be paid, but in that case it doesnt look like the general fund obligation can be reduced by the same amount. I guess that exists for the unlikely case that the state is able to pay its own school bond obligation, and prop 38 money is still there to be used somehow.. It also seems to make it impossible to ‘steal’ that money for non-school related bonds.

      And right, the net change from prop 30 will not all go to education. The ballot text is a bit misleading in that regard, imho.

    • Manuel replied

      on October 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      The portion that goes for public safety is actually going to pay for prison costs shifted to the counties (“realignment”).

      The funds actually come from earmarking a portion of the existing sales tax and taking it out of the general fund. This is a product of horse trading doneby Brown. With the Legislature which forced him to put to voters so they could have “plausible deniability”. The downside is that it reduces the base for Prop 98 “promise”.

      • Manuel replied

        on October 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

        Sorry for the typos. Using an iPad :(

  2. Stephen Smith said

    on October 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Great graphic, but I believe there is an error on the Prop 30 side.

    The graphic indicates that only $2.9 billion of the $6 billion raised goes to education. This is based on mis-reading of published California budget. According to the text of the law, all funds raised from the Prop 30 tax increases can only go to education. This will allow the state to fund schools to $2.9 billion in excess of the Prop 98 guarantee (which I believe has to do with back-filling prior deferred commitments) But all $6 billion will be directed to K-14 education.

    • navigio replied

      on October 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Does it matter where else it was cut from to achieve that? IMHO, there is a real problem with the concept that this money is somehow in a silo when it counts toward the general fund, and thus has implications for the prop 98 ‘guarantee’. Even then, $2.9B in excess is a bit disingenuous if there were expenditures added to prop 98 that hadnt been there in the past and aren’t related to direct k-14 funding.

      http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/06/08/judge-oks-prop-98-shell-game/

  3. Heather Fukunaga said

    on October 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    EdSource- any way you could provide a Spanish version of this infographic?

  4. Renee said

    on October 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    In speaking to people who are concerned about funding education many are unaware that Prop 38 provides nothing for UC system. Also, the importance of resolving the overall CA budget heavily weighted to education. Another point is the status of the provisions in 30 and 38 if both get a majority. This means that the proposition with the largest majority prevails. If Prop 30 loses, trigger cuts resulting from previous budget agreement will go into effect.

  5. Renee said

    on October 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    In speaking to people who are concerned about funding education many are unaware that Prop 38 provides nothing for Univ. of CA system. Another point is if both 30 and 38 get a majority the proposition with the highest number of votes prevails. If Prop 38 wins, trigger cuts resulting from the Governor’s and Legislature’s previous budget agreement will go into effect immediately.

  6. betsy blakeslee said

    on October 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

    The infographics provide a clear, fun visual to communicate information. I’d like to see on the first page your recommendation to vote for both measures. Some people won’t take the time to read all eight infographics. That is, after all, the most pertinent information.

  7. John Fensterwald said

    on October 31, 2012 at 9:03 am

    This is submitted on behalf of edfundwonk:

    Page 7 of the Infographic fails to tell the whole story about the consequences if either measure fails. As noted on page 8, only one of the two propositions can be enacted. The answer to both of the questions, “What happens if Prop 30 fails?” and “What happens if Prop 38 fails,” is therefore “It depends on whether the other proposition fails.” Put another way, the questions that must be answered are, “What happens if Prop 30 fails and Prop 38 is enacted?” “What happens if Prop 38 fails and Prop 30 is enacted?” and “What happens if both fail?”
    The answers are:
    1. Prop 30 fails and Prop 38 is enacted
    Beginning in 2012-13: $6.0 billion in ongoing trigger cuts
    • K-12 and community colleges: $5.4 billion
    • UC and CSU: $500 million
    • Other: $100 million
    Beginning in 2013-14: $10 billion (est.) in annual revenues
    2013-14 through 2016-17:

    • Schools 60%
    • Early Care and Education 10%
    • State Debt Payments 30%
    2017-18 through 2023-24
    • Schools 85%
    • Early Care and Education 15%
    • State Debt Payments –%

    2. Prop 38 fails and Prop 30 is enacted
    Best possible outcome: Avoids $5.9 billion in trigger cuts

    3. Prop 30 and Prop 38 both fail

    Beginning in 2012-13: $6.0 billion in ongoing trigger cuts
    • K-12 and community colleges: $5.4 billion
    • UC and CSU: $500 million
    • Other: $100 million

  8. navigio said

    on October 31, 2012 at 10:19 am

    A couple things.

    First, it should be pointed out that the debt reduction effort of prop 38 is 6 times the amount that would be cut from higher education as a result of trigger cuts, so clearly the state would have the means to prioritize higher education if it so desired. In fact, the amount that would be freed up in the general fund as a result of 38′s debt reduction would be more than the total excess that prop 30 would guarantee schools in the event of its passage. In addition, 38′s ‘normal’ revenue would raise more money for k-12 education in the first 4 years than that excess funding prop 30 would provide. After 4 years, it would more than cover the entire ‘ongoing’ k-12 trigger cuts (assuming those stay constant). While that clearly doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with it, I do think its important for people who are opposing 30 because they dont trust politicians (and there appear to be a lot of those people) to realize those things.

    I also think the dynamic between the two measures in the event both get over 50% to be intriguing. The state constitution already has a way to ‘break the tie’, but it should be noted that both measures contain text trying to specify behavior in the case both pass. Prop 30 specifies that 38 would be entirely null and void if both get more than 50% and 30 has more votes. In contrast, prop 38 only nullifies the taxation portions of prop 30 and those things it funds if both get more than 50% and 38 has more votes.

    At one point, this seemed important because the Governor’s realignment plan is dovetailed with his initiative. That in theory meant the issues dealing with realignment could be approved even without the revenue to fund it. However, if I understand correctly, the Governor has a ‘plan’ to move forward without that even in the event of prop 30 failing, and if I remember and understood an earlier article correctly, this is essentially moving money out of the general fund to do that. Although the amount seemed to be about what the trigger cuts would be, education was only slated to lose about half of that as a result, so it appears the trigger cuts would be over and above that ‘movement’, but I didnt pay enough attention to notice which cup the money was under. Admittedly, it seems possible to see the portions of prop 30 dealing with realignment as something that is ‘funded by that revenue’, and thus something that 38 would null and void if it got more votes, but in reading 30 it seems more that those things are pretty independent. So I think its still possible for portions of both to pass, albeit not those that deal with taxation.

    Lastly, the CSBA has stated that prop 30 modifies the constitution to allow sales tax revenue to fund realignment. While that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing (and in fact is probably one reason they support it), I have heard almost zero discussion about these portions of prop 30 in the discussions about the ballot measures. And maybe even more concerning, prop 30 also references the external ’2011 Realignment Legislation’. This seems to make its scope much broader than it appears when just reading the initiative’s text. It would be nice if someone with more familiarity with the realignment legislation could speak to these things.

  9. Herb Felsenfeld said

    on November 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    The Infographic states that The California Republican Party is opposed to both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. Does the Party give any reason for their opposition?

  10. Kate Lynch said

    on November 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    This infographic is the ONLY piece of information I have seen on the Props that explains, adequately and clearly, the difference.

    Please, please, please, tweet this and include @k8lynch in your tweet, so that I can help spread this around. I only wish I’d seen it earlier!

    Invaluable! Thanks!

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