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If the polls are any indication, the issue of education is pushing voters to choose sides in a way rarely seen before. With narrow margins in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and with gubernatorial candidates emphasizing their positions on school issues, it’s possible that what happened – or won’t is not passed – in the classroom will determine the makeup of many of the country’s top political leaders. desks.
What we don’t see is the usual plethora of education-related ballot initiatives. Nor is there a union-related couple.
Massachusetts is the only state where there is a large-scale and generously funded battle over school funding. issue 1 would impose an additional 4% tax on income over $1 million, with the income to be used for “quality public education and affordable public colleges and universities, as well as the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transport.
Supporters raised more than $10.6 million, almost all of which came from teachers’ unions: nearly $4.3 million from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, $4 million from the National Education Association, 750 $000 from the American Federation of Teachers of Massachusetts and $300,000 from AFT. The State Chapter of the Service Employees International Union contributed an additional $410,000.
Opponents have raised more than $9 million, with business interests such as construction companies, real estate agents and manufacturers leading with $1 million each.
“The super-rich CEOs and wealthy investors who fund the opposition to Question 1 are spending millions trying to scare people because they don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes,” says Lillian Lanierfield director for the Yes on 1 campaign.
Unions are exempt from all state and federal income taxes.
There is a ballot initiative in California that would raise income taxes for those earning more than $2 million, but the state’s teachers’ union is taking the unusual stance of opposing it.
Revenues generated by Proposition 30 would fund “subsidies for zero-emission vehicles, infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles, such as charging stations for electric vehicles; and forest fire suppression and prevention programs. It is backed by the state’s Democratic Party, environmental groups and several private sector unions, including Unite HERE.
But Governor Gavin Newsom opposes it, and is even featured in campaign ads against the initiativecalling the tax a “Trojan horse” for the benefit of corporate interests.
Indeed, $25 million of the initiative’s funding comes from ride-sharing company Lyft. California has decreed that ride-sharing companies must use zero-emission vehicles for 90% of the miles traveled by their drivers by 2030. The subsidies would make it easier for Lyft drivers to purchase these vehicles.
The state’s Republican Party and Chamber of Commerce joined Newsom in opposition because of their general anti-tax principles, making them strange bedfellows.
Especially since the California Teachers Association also opposes it. But why? Apparently, the union sees the initiative as a way to avoid state school funding guarantees. Tax revenues in California generally go into the state’s general fund, of which approximately 40% is mandated to go towards K-12 education. The schools would get none of the funds from the tax hike proposed by the initiative.
The union is standing on more traditional ground with its support for Proposition 28, which requires school districts to devote at least 1% of K-12 funding to arts and music education.
Two labor-related measures will also appear on state ballots in November. They go in opposite directions.
Tennessee’s Constitutional Amendment 1 would entrench the state’s Right to Work Act into the constitution, making it illegal to require union membership as a condition of employment.
Illinois Amendment 1 would make collective bargaining a constitutional right. It is supported by a host of unions, including the Illinois Teachers’ Federation and the Chicago Teachers’ Union.
While we are experiencing a pause in school funding ballot initiatives, they will likely reappear as federal and state funding for COVID relief begins to dissipate. The educational institution will seek new sources of revenue to maintain current spending levels and avoid layoffs. Enjoy the reprieve while it lasts.
Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears most Wednesdays; see the complete archive.
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