Why the Millionaires Tax?

I have heard many people refer to the current times that we’re living in as a convergence of crisis.  I would like to re-think this moment in our country as a convergence of multiple opportunities.  This is an opportunity to reframe our economy as one that focuses on creating careers as opposed to jobs.  An opportunity to create an economy that cares for each person's well-being, and strives to meet each person's basic needs in a dignified manner.

And I strongly believe that the 2012 Millionaires Tax Ballot Initiative is the first step towards taking advantage of this convergence of opportunity.

The Millionaires Tax is the only progressive measure being considered for the November 2012 ballot to bring revenue back to California. The proposal has the potential to raise up to $9.5 billion in revenue for the state.  You can read the entire language of the Millionaires Tax here.

The Millionaires Tax to Restore Funding toEducation and Essential Services Act of 2012, calls on Californians making over $1million to pay and 3% more in state income taxes, and those making over $2 million to pay an additional 5% in taxes to restore California’s declining economy.   Sixty percent of the generated revenue would go towards education, 25% for vital social services, 10% for public safety and the remaining 5% for road maintenance.

All of us who live in California benefit from the services that our state provides.  Whether we're in a bus, our own car or on a bicycle we all use California roads and bridges.  We all benefit from having well trained and equipped firefighter, law enforcement and first responders.  These are all services that we access and benefit from, and in order to having a thriving state, we need to pay our fair share to have them.

Since 2006, the Ella Baker Center has been a core collaborative partner of Oakland Rising, which is an anchor organization for California Calls.  Through our partnership with California Calls, Oakland Rising has been able to develop the electoral infrastructure that allows us to talk to unlikely, occasional and never voters in the Oakland a minimum of 2 times a years.  These are the same low-come communities and communities of color that the Ella Baker Center advocates for through our 4 people-powered campaigns.

In the time that we have worked with California Calls through Oakland Rising, more than three years now, we have consistently been providing public education and engaging voters in the Tax and Fiscal Policy issues facing California and directly disproportionately impacting low income, immigrant communities of color.  The Millionaires Tax is an initiative that reflects thousands of conversations that California Call anchor organizations like Oakland Rising have been holding up and down the state with registered voters.

All the various Civic Engagement Campaigns that we have held over the years have allowed us to properly frame the initiative, demonstrate strong voter support, and reflect the values and interests of voters. More than that, the Millionaires Tax is a truly progressive measure that raises taxes on the wealthiest Californians to pay their fair share, rather than once again placing the burden on communities that continue to face the cuts to social services they so desperately need.

This chart lays out a great side-by-side analysis of how the Millionaires Tax compares to the Munger Initiative and Governor Brown's plan.  For the simple facts that the Millionaires Tax is the only true progressive initiative, does not have a sunset clause, stands to bring in nearly the same amount of money, if not more, than the other 2 initiatives, and polls stronger than the other two bills the Ella Baker Center has decided to endorse the Millionaires Tax.

And just to re-cap, the Millionaires Tax is rooted in community.  This initiative that was created by listening to the needs and concerns of registered voters and engaging them in meaningful conversations.  It has been tailored to restore funding to the safety net social services that so many Californians desperately depend on, not only as a way of restoring our communities, but also restoring California's economy.

As strongly as the Millionaires Tax is polling now, combined with the identified support of registered voters that California Calls has been building over years, should the Millionaires Tax make it to the November 2012 Ballot, we're highly confident that it will pass.

But we need your support to push the Millionaires Tax out in front.  Stayed tuned for ways that you can work with Soul of the City to take part in the signature gathering efforts happening from the Bay Area, to Southern California, and to the Central Valley to qualify the Millionaires Tax for the 2012 Ballot Initiative. You can learn more about the Millionaires Tax, see who the supporters or sign-up to support this initiative by checking out their website.

This is a timely opportunity in the state of California, that we can not afford to pass us by.