The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Los Angeles Schools Failed Tax Initiative

Jun 24, 2019

Voters in Los Angeles rejected a ballot measure that would have increased property taxes, supposedly to help out L.A. schools. “Measure EE” got only about 46 percent of the vote – far below the two-thirds vote it needed to pass.

This “no” vote is not a surprise, considering that Measure EE would have imposed a flat tax of 16 cents per square foot on all property owners. It is a regressive tax that makes working-class homeowners pay at the same rate as wealthy property owners or big companies. Working people are no doubt quite fed up with these tax increases. Sales tax increases, property tax increases. The Los Angeles school board itself has bombarded voters with seven tax increase proposals since 1997!

But on top of that, the pretext of this tax increase was one big, obvious lie to begin with. District and county officials shamelessly claimed that the L.A. school district did not have enough money to pay for what it promised in the contract it signed after a teachers’ strike in January. Never mind that the meager “raises” and “staffing improvements” amount to no more than 175 million dollars over the next two years – less than 10 percent of the 1.8-billion-dollar cash surplus the district is sitting on!

Shamefully, school officials had the active support of the leaders of UTLA, the L.A. teachers’ union, as well as Local 99 of the SEIU, which is the largest union representing non-teaching district workers. Union leaders campaigned for a tax on working people, including their own members. Covering up for their allies, California Democrats who run the state government.

These politicians and officials reserve those big budget surpluses for handouts to their bosses, big capitalists. The education of working-class children is simply not something they want to put any money into.

Barely two weeks after the failure of Measure EE, the L.A. school board launched its next attack: it announced dozens of layoffs and at the same time added several new managers with six-figure salaries to its already top-heavy administration!