The day after the November election, headlines about the effects of California’s passage of Proposition 30 appeared all over the country: the state’s community colleges would add classes to accommodate 20,000 more students; the University of California took a $2,400 tuition hike off the table; families would not have to endure a three week public school furlough. Californians had voted to increase taxes to further the common good, enacting their state’s first progressive income tax increase in many years.
After choosing the passage of Proposition 30 as its primary organizing campaign last summer, Bend the Arc Bay Area brought the Jewish community into a historic coalition of labor, neighborhood and interfaith organizations that made the difference in what turned out to be a very close vote. At the same time, Bend the Arc Southern California organized Jews in the greater Los Angeles area in support of the measure. Our volunteer leaders held house meetings, wrote op-eds and organized to get new and unlikely voters to the polls who tipped the margin toward victory.
The momentum we rode to victory on Prop 30 in California stayed with us as Bend the Arc organized in Jewish communities nationwide throughout December, placing Jewish voices and values firmly behind ending the federal tax cuts for high income earners.
Looking ahead, while the governors of some states are pushing for a more regressive tax system, this spring Bend the Arc will take the lessons we learned on the Prop 30 fight to set our sights on fixing California’s broken revenue system for good.