Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sacramento Teacher Lay Offs Decline

Excellent news.  Teachers lay offs have  declined.  Only 2,900 teachers received these notices this week in time for the mandatory lay off notices.  Less than 350 teachers received these notices in Sacramento county.  How did this happen?  WE – the voters- passed Proposition 30 and to a lesser extend Prop. 39 in the 2012 elections.  If you didn’t vote- you did not contribute.  Voting makes a difference.
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.

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.

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