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November 17, 2005

Universal PreSchool in California?

The campaign for universal pre-school for all California kids, spearheaded by Rob Reiner, will submit signatures qualifying the initiative for the ballot next year.

A compromise bill that will guarantee funding for three hours of pre-school for every 4-year old in the state, whether they are in public or private schools, the supporters range from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to the California State Council of Service Employees to the Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles chambers of commerce.

The business support is particularly significant, since the initiative is paid for with a hike in state income taxes on those making more than $400,000 per year. The Los Angeles Chamber had not endorsed a tax increase in its 117-year history.

Which goes to show the potency of the day care/pre-K issue, since businesses, unions and of course families know the tension between taking care of their kids and work is the biggest strain on many families.

Even California Taxpayers Association spokesman Ron Roach, who dislikes the proposal, admits it will be popular:

"It's going to be quite popular with voters because they won't be taxing themselves," he said. "They'll be taxing someone else."
Here's the dirty little secret that conservatives hate to admit. "Tax the rich" politics is popular and successful, especially when the proposed taxes are used to relieve financial pressures on families struggling with balancing the demands of work and family.

Across the country, we need a "tax the rich to help the American family" campaign that would fund not only pre-K education but paid family leave and better health care for all famillies.

There's a platform for progressives in 2006.

Posted by Nathan at November 17, 2005 03:10 PM