Nurses Endorse Millionaire Tax Initiative for California

CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–February 6, 2012.  

With ongoing cuts to healthcare, education, and other basic services, and greater national income disparity than during the Depression, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced its support for the Millionaires Tax of 2012 initiative.

“It’s time to end the ugly cycle of repeated cuts to the bone in vital services and education that are inflicting greater pain and suffering daily in our state and our communities while more and more resources are shifted to the yacht owners and others in the 1 percent,” said CNA co-president Deborah Burger.

“The Millionaire’s Tax initiative is an important step forward to begin to restore balance and economic justice in our state, and require those who have benefited – while so many Californians are continually asked to make sacrifice after sacrifice – pay their fair share,” Burger said.

The initiative would increase the state income tax rate by 3 percent on individuals with incomes over $1 million and 5 percent on those with incomes over $2 million, without raising costs to any other taxpayers. Money raised would go directly into education and restoration of public services provided by county and municipal governments. It is expected to raise from $6 billion to $9.5 billion just in 2012-2013.

“CNA members daily see the consequences of the economic crisis and the destruction of what used to be called a social safety net. Today, healthcare programs are being shredded, many people can no longer afford to send their children to college, and food pantries and soup kitchens seem to be the biggest growth industries,” said Burger.

At the bedside, nurses now routinely see patients, even those with insurance, enduring broad declines in health as a direct result of skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs for medical care, poor nutrition, and the effects of job loss and home foreclosures as budget cuts erode social programs while the corporate elite and wealthiest individuals are again enjoying boom times.

A report by the California Budget Project last fall documented that one-third of income gains in California the past two decades went to the richest 1 percent, and three-fourths to the top 10 percent. It also showed that California had the 7th widest income gap in the U.S., while Los Angeles and San Francisco ranked 3rd and 7th in income disparity among large U.S. cities.

Early last year  CNA and NNU adopted a call for a Main Street Contract for the American People calling for a fundamental shift in national priorities, focused on good jobs, quality education, and guaranteed healthcare for all, and a just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. “The Millionaire’s Tax is right in line with the program our members have advanced,” Burger said.

Other endorsers of the initiative include the California Federation of Teachers, University of California Students Association, Courage Campaign, and more than two dozen other labor and community organizations.