The California Teachers Association announced yesterday that an
initiative to repeal nearly $2 billion in corporate tax breaks has garnered enough signatures to go to the November state ballot.
The Repeal Corporate Tax Loopholes Act would make the state stop giving tax breaks to large corporations, which the California Teachers Association says would help the state's budget crisis at a time when funding for schools has been slashed by billions of dollars in the past two years.
"This initiative is not only important to schools, it's important
to taxpayers," teachers association vice president Dean Vogel said at a news conference at union headquarters in Burlingame Wednesday afternoon
He said that if the corporate tax breaks are not repealed, "art,
technical education and other programs will continue to be cut.''
The initiative would nullify what the association calls ill-timed
corporate tax breaks approved by the Legislature last year and stop a small number of large corporations from receiving additional tax credits.
"The theme of the California Teachers Association is creating
brighter futures," president David Sanchez said. "Those futures are being dimmed."
In the Bay Area, about 5,000 educators have received pink slips
among the 25,000 teachers statewide this year.
Art McGaw was one of those to receive a pink slip. He is the only
music teacher left for the Millbrae School District, and said that if he is laid off, the music program will likely end.
"Our children deserve to have every opportunity," McGaw said.
"Music should be part of the educational experience."
He said he expects to find out at the end of the school year
whether he can continue to teach music for the school district.
The teachers association also launched a 30-second TV
advertisement for the initiative today that will air the statement.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office opposes the initiative, saying raising taxes for corporations would reduce job creation.
"We disagree we should be raising taxes right now, which they are proposing to do,'' Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the governor, said Wednesday.
He said raising taxes would prevent companies from creating as
many jobs as possible.
"Right now is the exact wrong time to discourage businesses from creating jobs.''
The teachers association announced the initiative Wednesday as part of the annual "Day of the Teacher" celebration in California. Other events were been planned statewide, including in Oakland, Santa Rosa and Fremont.
In Oakland, a "Line the Lake" rally was scheduled to feature Oakland Education Association members and community supporters at the north side of Lake Merritt where teachers were gathering with picket signs and noisemakers. The rally follows a one-day strike April 29 by members of the education association after the school district imposed a contract with no raises.
A rally also was scheduled in Santa Rosa, where the Sonoma County Education Coalition planned a rally at the courthouse against state budget cuts. Educators also planned to picket in Fremont, where 260 teacher pink slips and $27 million in program cuts have taken place.
For more information on the initiative, visit