Making the first moves to bring California back

Restoring California is a coalition of educators and community leaders sponsoring the Millionaires Tax of 2012 initiative for the November ballot. The funds raised by the Millionaires Tax—more than $6 billion per year—would begin to reverse the decline of California.

The Millionaires Tax will raise permanent revenue for California to meet the needs of our children in public schools, elders on fixed incomes, and disabled residents who require vital services, without taxing the working class.  The Millionaires Tax simply asks the richest Californians, who earn in excess of a million dollars per year, and have benefitted most from a functioning, stable society, to pay their fair share. 

Pundits and Sacramento insiders suggest that the Millionaires Tax of 2012 does not have the money to get on the ballot.  While rumor is often more fun than fact, we offer a few of the latter in demonstration of our seriousness and capacity.

Just after we received title and summary from the Attorney General, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) endorsed the Millionaires Tax.  Recall that CNA/NNU is perhaps the most inventive and outspoken labor organization in the state and played a key role in electing Jerry Brown.  Nurses are of course one of the most respected professions. And CNA/NNU has led a very powerful and effective campaign contrasting Main Street with Wall Street.  We welcome CNA/NNU and know the significance of their active endorsement and involvement, which will grow over time.

“It’s time to end the ugly cycle of repeated cuts to the bone in vital services and education that are inflicting greater pain and suffering daily in our state and our communities while more and more resources are shifted to the yacht owners and others in the 1 percent,” said CNA co-president Deborah Burger.

Additionally, AFSCME District Council 57 joined Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), in backing the Millionaires Tax.

The campaign also announced that the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) has contributed $500,000 towards the signature-gathering campaign together with $200,000 from California Calls, one of the three key architects of this campaign.  We also hired Masterton & Wright to manage the signature-gathering effort, which begins on Monday. Masterton & Wright has a long record of successful ballot qualification efforts. 

Our tax code needs to reflect the interests of middle-class Californians, not the special interests of corporate CEOs and their lobbyists. Now is the time to revamp our tax code here in California so it’s fair to the 99% of us who play by the rules, not just the 1% who lobby hard and re-write the rules.

Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs, executive director of CLUE California, said his organization endorsed the Millionaires Tax because, “We are seeking a more equitable means to raise revenue in California to meet the needs of our children in public schools, elders on fixed incomes, and disabled residents who require vital services.  The Millionaires Tax offers the brightest prospect of getting voters’ approval and making our state’s economy more stable.  It is not too much to ask the most prosperous citizens in California to pay a few pennies on each dollar over $1 million earnings.  It is fair and long over due.”

“California schools need new revenue and the Millionaires Tax is the initiative that would provide permanent revenue without parents and students digging deeper into their pockets,” said FACCC Vice President Dean Murakami, a Sacramento-area community college professor.

AFSCME District Council 57 is one of two AFSCME district councils in California.  District Council 57 represents 25,000 workers in schools and community colleges, transit agencies, public works and services, clinics and hospitals, and water and wastewater facilities throughout Northern California and the Central Valley. The Council also represents health and social service professionals in corrections facilities across California.

FACCC is a legislative advocacy organization for community college faculty, with more than ten thousand members statewide.  CLUE is an interfaith organization that works to provide a moral framework for the economic debate, empower workers, and engage clergy and congregations in economic justice campaigns.

Ed’s Note: Rick Jacobs is the founder and chairperson of the Courage Campaign.

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