Rise Up, Recover, Rebuild: Tax wealthiest Californians and pandemic profiteers — invest in California

Resolution

Whereas, California is experiencing multiple and intersecting crises that preceded but have been exacerbated by a global pandemic: an economic crisis for working people, a healthcare system that is failing large segments of our society, a long overdue reckoning with systemic racism, and a climate crisis; and

Whereas, the Great Recession has had long-lasting consequences for California’s public schools and colleges from which we had not yet recovered when the pandemic began, hurting a generation of students as critically needed teachers were pushed out of the classroom and our schools, colleges, and universities lost thousands of classified employees and faculty whose jobs were cut; and

Whereas, since the pandemic began in March 2020, U.S. billionaires have accumulated an additional $1.1 trillion in wealth, which is enough to cover the full cost of the relief for working people included in President Biden’s first proposed stimulus package and leave these billionaires as wealthy as they were a year ago; and

Whereas, one in four of these billionaires call California home and their collective wealth, which was $1.2 trillion in January 2021, increased by $503 billion since the start of the pandemic; and

Whereas, today California is the fifth largest economy in the world by GDP, but after school funding was gutted in 1978 when a corporate property tax loophole was created, California’s per student spending on instruction fell from 7th in the nation in 1977 to 41st in the nation by 2016; and

Whereas, during this same period of disinvestment in public education California’s demographics shifted from a state where nearly 8 in 10 residents were white (in 1970) to a highly diverse state that in 2019 was only 37% white; and

Whereas, as California’s economy begins to recover from the pandemic-driven recession, the budget must vigorously reinvest in the communities most harmed by COVID-19, including students, essential workers, and the healthcare system and public health networks that have helped California mitigate the worst of the pandemic; and

Whereas, the pandemic is having a disproportionate and more deadly impact on communities of color — especially Black and Latinx communities — an equitable and racially just recovery will require both more resources and an equitable distribution of those resources; and

Whereas, despite the pandemic profits for the wealthy, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated California’s economy and the state unemployment rate grew to 9% in December 2020, several points higher than the national average, with 1.7 million Californians still unemployed; and

Whereas, now is the time to make the wealthiest Californians pay their fair share and to bring long-needed reform to the broken tax system or else accept that the pandemic’s legacy will be to further widen a racialized economic divide between the haves and have nots; and

Whereas, CFT was a founding member of the Millionaires Tax ballot initiative that evolved to become the historic Proposition 30 and successor Proposition 55, both of which passed overwhelmingly to help fund our TK-14 education system; and

Whereas, CFT is a founding member of the Schools and Communities First campaign, formed to eliminate the commercial property tax loophole and to provide needed funding for our schools and community services; and

Whereas, CFT is a founding member of the Commit to Equity campaign, formed to advocate against budget cuts that hurt our schools, healthcare, and child care when we need them the most and to advocate for taxing the privileged for essential revenue; and

Whereas, CFT last year co-sponsored legislation including a wealth tax (AB 2088, Bonta, D-Oakland) and a millionaires tax (AB 1253, Santiago-D-Los Angeles);

Therefore, be it resolved, that the CFT will continue to be a fierce advocate and a leader in the fight for progressive taxation which includes a wealth tax, capital gains tax, financial transaction tax, or a millionaires income tax, to provide a just and equitable society through funding California’s public education system and community services; and

Be it further resolved, that CFT will work with coalition partners — including labor partners, education partners, and community partners — to further this fight of progressive taxation through communication, mobilization, and legislation, and, if necessary, through direct voter advocacy and the ballot initiative process.

 

  • Passed as Resolution 8 by CFT Virtual Convention on March 27, 2021
  • Submitted by the Executive Council