Wealth Tax to Fund California Schools and Social Services
March 19, 2023


Whereas, California’s public schools, colleges, and social services have historically been severely underfunded, resulting in inadequate educational opportunities and resources for the state’s students; and

Whereas, the quality of education has been further impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven certificated and classified employees out of employment due to hazardous working conditions, low pay, and political pressures that seek to blame workers and schools for society’s lack of preparedness in the face of the pandemic; and

Whereas, staffing issues have reached crisis proportions in district after district, with positions going unfilled and greater responsibilities piled onto the remaining employees; and

Whereas, the Governor is proposing cuts to the state budget due to falling revenues; and

Whereas, since the beginning of the pandemic, California’s wealthiest residents, including one quarter of the country’s billionaires, have reaped enormous windfall levels of income, collectively increasing their wealth by 50% since March 2020; and

Whereas, the combined wealth of the richest one percent in California is $2 trillion, approximately 30% of all the state’s wealth; and

Whereas, a modest wealth tax, including 1% on individual wealth over $50 million and 1.5% on individual wealth over $1 billion, would bring California over $20 billion dollars a year, nearly enough to close the projected state budget gap; and

Whereas, we know from past successful progressive tax ballot campaigns, like Prop. 30 in 2012, that passage requires a strong preliminary effort at internal member education, opinion research, campaign development, and coalition building; and

Whereas, a legislative bill for a progressive tax preceded the 2012 Proposition 30 campaign, testing the waters and providing important information about the balance of political forces, but ultimately failed; and

Whereas, last year Assemblymember Alex Lee’s AB 2289, proposing a wealth tax, failed to get out of committee despite a 70% approval rating in public opinion research;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the CFT will begin a comprehensive effort now in preparation for the 2024 election, including a robust member education program, opinion research, support for a legislative campaign, outreach to potential coalition partners, and education of the electorate to promote the idea of such a wealth tax; and

Be it further resolved, that the CFT leadership report back to the membership by the beginning of the fall 2023 semester on progress of the comprehensive effort; and

Be it finally resolved, that the CFT will explore with its coalition partners all reasonable progressive tax alternatives in order to fund the education our students deserve and the compensation and working conditions that school employees deserve.

  • Submitted by the Labor and Climate Justice Education Committe