Talking Taxes Toolkit
Fair tax policies to fund our future


It takes fair tax policies to fund California’s future. In order to provide for the schools and services everyone needs, voters need to know what’s at stake when tax measures come before them. These materials explain fair tax policies and the progress CFT has made in implementing them. 


Resetting Inequity – Tax Billionaires

As we navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic, Californians are experiencing crises that reach far beyond the immediate public and personal health emergencies.  In April 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that half of the state and local job losses nationwide were in public education, exceeding the education job losses during the Great Recession. By stark contrast, other segments of our society are thriving under the conditions of this pandemic — between March and May, while most of us were sheltering in place and economic activity slowed dramatically, billionaire wealth grew exponentially.

Billionaire Tax of 1 percent on individuals with net worth over $50 million and 1.5 percent on wealth over $1 billion would bring roughly $18.5 billion to the state each year. Californians deserve a state budget that uses the untapped resources of those who can afford to share their pandemic profits.

What can you do? 


2016 — Proposition 55 extends Proposition 30 

Four years after voters passed Prop 30, schools and services needed the funding extended. Voters agreed and passed Prop 55. Prop 55, the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act. Prop 55 maintains Prop 30’s modest income tax increase on people making over $250,000 a year to fund schools and vital services.

In this six-minute video four CFT members hurt by the Great Recession describe their experiences prior to passage of Prop 30 in 2012. They detail how their situations, and that of their students, improved after that ballot measure was passed.

2012 – Proposition 30 stops the bleeding

Prop 30 passed in 2012 and is working. It imposed a higher income tax rate on wealthy Californians, and a tiny increase in state sales tax, bringing the state $6 billion a year to restore cuts in public education and social services. Each year the funding from this progressive tax has further stabilized California’s economy, and restored more programs to schools and services.

In this eight-minute video we see how deep the cuts went before 2012, and examples of how Prop 30 funding has brought back laid-off teachers, classified employees, and helped students who needed help the most to gain access to improved educational opportunities.

  • The Difference Prop 30 Makes 
    A two-page flyer summarizing the achievements of Prop 30 around the state, and making the argument why this crucial tax needs to be renewed or a comparable progressive tax measure put in its place.
  • How We Won: A Short History of Proposition 30 
    An in-depth article describes how we got to Proposition 30 and describes how the idea began in the Fight for California’s Future campaign, and eventuated in passage in  2012 of a statewide tax in a supposedly “anti-tax state.”


  • Booklet: Talking Taxes
    A 20-page booklet that provides the general economic and historical background an activist needs to contribute to the movement for fair taxes, as well as specific activities to engage in, sample letters to the editor and op eds, statistics useful in discussions, and more.
  • Brochure: CFT Progressive Tax Policy
    The short course: a two-sided brochure that succinctly lays out the arguments for fair tax policies, including a brief explanation of progressive versus regressive taxes, a few pertinent facts about wealth and income inequality, and a sample letter to your legislator.
  • Flyer: What to say when they tell you "business and jobs will flee California"
    You’ve heard the argument a million times. If the topic comes up about the need for fair tax policies on the rich and corporations to fund public education and services, the first objection you will hear is “But businesses/the rich will leave California, and then all the jobs will be gone.” Here are the simple, fact-based answers to this pervasive myth, spread every day by big business propaganda.
  • Presentation: Talking Taxes, Fixing Our Future
    A 25-slide Powerpoint presentation on how fair tax policies can successfully address restoring public education and services to the levels Californians need and deserve. Includes presentation notes.
  • Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale
    This eight-minute video shows how we arrived at the moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. The CFT-produced video is narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Asner, with animation by award-winning artist Mike Konopacki, and written and directed by former Communications Director Fred Glass.
  • Bibliography and Further Resources
    Books, articles, websites and videos to help you understand the growing economic inequality in California and the nation, and how progressive tax policy can reverse it.

For more information, to order copies of these publications, or to hold a meeting in your union local or community organization to explain these issues and motivate people to become active, contact Matthew Hardy.