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ELECTION BRIEFS: Prop 55 - Tax extension of Prop. 30

"Day 36/366.....I Voted," by Flickr user Denise Cross Photography. Used under CC BY 2.0. Cropped and overlaid with text.

Prop 55 has to do with income tax. Specifically, income tax for people who make a lot of money. Four years ago we passed a tax rate increase for people making more than 250,000 dollars a year. That extra money — about 7 billion dollars — has gone to education and health care. The increase is set to expire in 2018--but not if a majority of Californians vote yes on Prop 55.

Prop 55 would extend this income tax increase until 2030. If you make more than 250,000 dollars, your taxes wouldn’t be raised further, but they won’t be lowered back to pre-2012 rates either. The revenue would go to education, and in some years, health care.

Those who support the measure — education and health care advocates like the California Teachers Association — say the state can’t afford to lose this money. It will help protect schools and health care programs from future budget cuts. And the "yes" campaign is invested. It’s raised more than 56 million dollars.

Why would someone vote no on Prop 55, even if they don’t make lots of money? Some opponents say a temporary tax increase should just be temporary. The California Chamber of commerce thinks prop 55 would hurt small companies and drive businesses out of the state.

The San Francisco Chronicle also wants people to vote no on Prop 55. It says that we shouldn’t be supporting the education system from income tax because it’s dependent on the economy, and that can be risky. Altogether, the vote "no" campaign has raised three thousand dollars.

Whether it passes or not, Prop 55 means a lot of money. So make sure you’re clear: If you want to extend the high-earner income tax increase for another 12 years, vote yes on Prop 55; if you want the high-earner income tax increase to end, vote no.

Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this post. Our call-outs are part of our community reporting project.