Working together we passed Prop. 30, to fund schools, universities and social services. This is a floor under austerity. It raises taxes on the rich to pay for services. It does raise sales tax by ¼ of percent – but 90% of the tax increases are on the rich . A tax of 1-3 % on those who make over $250,000 per year.
Bad news The number of police officers is shrinking reducing public safety. This is happening as a result of government austerity programs included in the California budget.
California, like many states, must produce a “balanced” budget. State governments use public tax money for police, fire fighters, teachers, park services, nurses, doctors, social workers and health assistants.
During the economic crisis fewer items were purchased such as clothes, cars, and homes. At the same time more people were out of work and thus they paid fewer taxes. States responded to the loss of tax money by adopted austerity policies of cutting government employment of teachers, police, firefighters and reducing food assistance, child care, dental care and other programs of the social safety net. Austerity policies can be counter-productive because reduced government spending increases unemployment and thus cost more money for unemployment insurance and food assistance. These cut backs make the recession worse and last longer.
While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow, government policy should not impose austerity measures which reduce essential public safety programs for the middle and working classes and that shred the social safety net for the most vulnerable. Rather, government policy should prioritize public investments in job creation, public education and healthcare reform, while raising essential revenues by taxing the large corporations and wealthiest citizens who can afford to pay.
In the current economic crisis, the governments of Ireland, Greece, Italy, the UK, Spain and Portugal have implemented austerity programs and cut their budgets creating more unemployment and making the recessions in these countries worse.