Educators Call for Fair Share of Taxes on the 1%
By Joshua Pechthalt
California Federation of Teachers
A University of Southern California (USC)/Los Angeles Times poll showed the greater majorities of Californians support increasing income taxes on the top 1 percent of earners. The idea resonates with all geographic areas of the state, age groups, ethnicities and political persuasions because the 99% understands what has been happening.
The top 1 percent of California's income earners has doubled its share of all income earned by individuals in the state, but pays a lower tax rate than before. Yet, when Congress extended Bush's tax cuts for the rich in December 2010, it handed California's wealthiest 1 percent a $9 billion tax windfall - equal to half this year's state budget deficit. It's time to rethink taxes.
Everyone in our society – individuals and businesses alike – benefit from public structures like schools, roads and courts. These systems are built and maintained by the taxes we pay. But today low- and middle-income taxpayers are contributing a greater share of their incomes than the very wealthy to support these activities. It’s time to rebalance this system so that everyone pays an appropriate share.
According to a statewide survey last March of likely voters sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers, overwhelming majorities support a tax on the top 1 percent income bracket, people who make more than $500,000 per year, rather than see further cuts to schools, public safety and other vital services.
Joshua Pechthalt is President of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). The CFT represents faculty and other school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.