California Educators Pan GOP Tax Plan

December 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Education experts are speaking out against the Republican tax plan, saying it could lead to less money for schools and hurt working class families.

The bill permanently slashes corporate taxes from 35 to 21 percent and is projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation to drive up the deficit by $1.5 trillion.

A modest tax cut for middle class families will end in 2027.

Jane Hartley, a teacher from Costa Mesa, predicts her students’ families will lose out.

“It makes me livid that the tax cuts for the corporations will still be in place in 10 years, and yet most families’ taxes will have gone back up,” she states. “Meanwhile, we’re saddling our children with even more debt.”

Detractors fear the debt incurred by the GOP tax bill will lead to calls down the line for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and education. (noderog/iStockphotos)

Detractors fear the debt incurred by the GOP tax bill will lead to calls down the line for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and education. (noderog/iStockphotos)

Republican leaders argue that the tax cuts will juice the economy, creating more jobs and prosperity.

Opponents note that it could hurt consumers by driving up insurance premiums – once healthy young people are no longer required to buy coverage.

Hartley argues it will draw students away from public schools by allowing families to save money for private schools tax-free.

The bill also caps the amount of state and local taxes people can deduct off of their federal returns at $10,000.

California Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechthalt says that will be a disincentive to buy a home and will make people less likely to support additional funds for schools.

“And the ripple effect will be to discourage the local and state taxes that our schools depend on,” he points out. “And so in the long run, our schools are going to be hurt and the top one percent who send their kids to private schools are going to benefit.”

Legislators did back off of two items important to the education community. Graduate students’ tuition waiver money will not be taxed, and teachers still will be able to claim a $200 deduction for school supplies that they buy for their classrooms.


Social Security Numbers Are Tools for Identity Theft

March 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Bowing to intense public pressure, a federal judge earlier this month changed his order in a federal lawsuit that would have required California to release the personal information of as many as 10 million students, including not only their names and addresses, but also their social security numbers.

The lawsuit was brought by the California Concerned Parents Association, with members in 80 school districts throughout the state, and alleges that the California Department of Education does not force school districts to provide appropriate services to students with special needs. The group requested access to student data in order to prove its case.

While fewer than 10 people were supposed to receive and keep the data confidential, the judge’s order raised the concerns of privacy advocates who feared that once released there would be no way to guarantee the information would be secure, and that it could make its way into the hands of identity thieves who target children.

Judge Kimberly Mueller’s new ruling will allow the database to stay with the department of education, which will have to help plaintiffs’ attorneys get the information they need.

What bothers us most is that no one seems to be questioning why the state needs to keep students’ social security numbers in the first place. Is there not some other identifying number or code that can be attached to a student’s record?

In the 1930s, American workers and much of the public for that matter, objected to having a number attached to their names for fear that it could be used too easily by the government to track them, and intrude on their privacy. They feared the government would be able to keep records on every American using social security numbers.

But the country had just come out of the Great Recession and President Roosevelt’s Administration felt they needed to help Americans be secure in their retirement years, and established the Social Security system to collect funds from workers and employers for that purpose. They gave each American a number to identify their accounts and contributions.

In order to convince the public to go along, the president and Congress made a solemn promise to only use social security numbers for reporting earned wages.

As we know now, that promise has been broken and social security numbers are now used on a myriad of transactions, from securing government benefits to buying a car or health insurance, getting a credit card or a mortgage, to medical and employee records and registering for school.

Access to a person’s social security has allowed too many Americans to fall victim to identity theft.

We have to laugh when government agencies warn Americans to not give out their social security numbers, when they in fact are the largest disseminator of the numbers.

So now it’s up to every American to protect their social security number, and to fight against any government agency being allowed to give others access to our number one identifier.

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