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Education at an Early Age

California Ranks Last on States Tax List

California Comes Last

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Main Office:
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Chino Hills District Office:
14010 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Staff Members:
Mark Kirk,
Chief of Staff

Joy Chadwick,
Deputy Chief of Staff

Brian Johsz,
District Director

Annette Taylor,
Executive Secretary

Michael Delgado,
Executive Analyst

Naseem U. Farooqi,

Burt Southard,
Media Relations

Roman Nava,
Small Business Liason

Grace Hagman,
Field Representative

Larry Enriquez,
Field Representative

Jeanna Pomierski,
District Secretary
June 2010

Education at an Early Age

As an educator for 35 years, I’ve found that two of the most important indicators of a child’s future academic success are parent involvement and access to quality early childhood education.

This is not just about school readiness though. Several long-term studies have demonstrated the crime prevention benefits of high-quality early education programs. Multiple studies show that children who attend a quality preschool program get a better start in life, perform better in school, and thus, are less likely to turn to crime later in life. Other benefits include savings to the public education system and increased future earnings for children who enroll in high-quality preschool programs.

In fact, a report in 2009 by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, an anti-crime organization consisting of law enforcement, district attorneys, and crime survivors, stated that one in three California high school students does not graduate from high school on time. Of the half-million Californians who turn 20 each year, 120,000 do not have a high school diploma.

This report further states that on a national level, 68 percent of state prison inmates did not receive a high school diploma and sites researchers from Canada and UC Berkeley who studied the relationship between graduation and crime and concluded that a 10 percentage increase in high school graduation rates in California would result in approximately 500 fewer murders and over 20,000 fewer aggravated assaults each year.

The researchers also identified several approaches proven to improve high school graduation and dropout rates. The number one strategy was high school smaller learning communities with a large family involvement component.

The second was high-quality preschool. Evidence from two long-term evaluations of the effects of preschool shows that high quality preschool for at-risk children increases high school graduation rates by as much as 44 percent, while also cutting crime.

Additional, a 2005 study found that 76 percent of California’s public preschools, including the State Preschool Program, have waiting lists, leaving behind tens of thousands of low-income children.

For this reason, over the last 5 years as the Chairperson of the Preschool Services Department (PSD) Shared Governance Board, I have actively sought to increase access to quality preschool for children in our county. In addition to serving as chair of the agency’s advisory and oversight body, I’ve met and talked with federal and state officials to ensure our children are given every opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

Due to these efforts, in the last three years, out County has secured over $7 million in state and federal funding for State Preschool, Head Start and programs targeting children 0-5 and their children. Countywide, this funding has allowed us to serve over 1,000 additional children and their families, open three new centers and add two new classrooms to existing centers.

The majority of this new funding is for Early Head Start (EHS), a program which expands the benefits of early childhood development services to low-income pregnant women and families with children under age three. In fact, San Bernardino County was the largest single recipient of Early Head Start expansion funding in California.

One of the components of the Early Head Start Program is a collaboration between PSD and the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) to provide services to low-income pregnant women and their infants through home visits by a registered nurse throughout pregnancy and for the first two years of the child’s life.

During this period, PSD and DBH also collaborated on implementing Preschool Early Intervention programs which enhanced mental health programs for children 0-5 in our county, including parent and teacher training, masters degreed interns in selected preschool classrooms and a bereavement and loss “play therapy” group conducted by a licensed psychologist in locations throughout the county.

An author named John Whitehead said, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” I consider investing time and effort in high quality preschool services an investment in a better future for all our county’s residents. Indeed, the children we serve today will one day run our planet.

California Ranks Last on States Tax List

California is tied for last place on yet another study of how and what states tax. The new report, entitled “Taxifornia,” is part of the California Prosperity Project by the Pacific Research Institute, a nonprofit, free-market advocate organization based in San Francisco. It assesses California’s tax burden, the structure of its tax system, and how they affect the state’s competitiveness.

Taxifornia takes a different approach in analyzing states’ tax structure and illustrates that no matter how you slice and dice the data, California is a high-tax state.

Here are the top 5 states, based on a 10-point scale (10 being the best):
  1. South Dakota, 8.8
  2. Delaware, 8.6
  3. Texas, 7.7
  4. Louisiana, 7.7
  5. Nevada, 7.6
Here are the bottom 5 states:
  1. California, 3.1
  2. South Carolina, 3.1
  3. New York, 3.1
  4. Vermont 3.3
  5. Alaska, 3.3
Too many politicians and bureaucrats have forgotten that taxes change the incentives for people to work hard, save, invest and be entrepreneurial, the bedrock of a prosperous society.

This study measures two different but inter-related aspects of taxes: the total amount and the mix of taxes used by calculating 3 measures of taxation:
  • burden
  • structure
  • overall or composite
On burden of state taxes, California ranks 47th — state and local spending accounts for 18.3% of the state’s economy — behind Alaska (20.2% of that state’s economy), South Carolina (19.4%) and New York (18.4%).

California ranks last in personal income taxes, scoring 1.1 on a 10-point scale. The corporate income tax is less burdensome on the PRI scale, scoring 6.1 and ranking 34th. (The majority of businesses pay personal rather than corporate taxes because they are sole proprietors, partnerships, limited liability companies or S-corporations.)

“If policy makers want to understand why the Golden State’s economy is lagging behind those of other states, the punitive and steeply progressive personal income tax is a good place to start looking,” the report says.

In the mix and design of its major taxes, which include personal and corporate income taxes, capital-based taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes, California ranks 45th in the country. The report also emphasizes that California’s performance does not exist in a vacuum.

The Report goes on to say, “Whether we are considering other Southwestern states or other West Coast states, only Washington performs anywhere near as poorly as California in terms of burden of government and tax structure. Businesses and entrepreneurs are sensitive to taxes, and California is simply not tax-competitive with its neighbors.”

“Not only is California a high-tax state—as everyone already knew—but it is also an inefficient-tax state, perhaps equally troubling,” the report says.

From one point of view, though, California’s rank of 45th on the tax structure side is good news. It means that through sensible tax reform, economic growth can be fostered along with job creation, without the need for sacrificing tax revenues to state and local governments. This means shifting from costly income taxes, both personal and corporate, to consumption taxes. Of course, once the low-hanging fruit of efficient tax reform has been plucked, further incentives for private-sector growth will have to come through reductions in California’s total tax burden, currently the fourth-highest in the nation. California should simultaneously pursue tax reform and tax reduction.

California Comes Last

Chief Executive Magazine recently conducted its annual survey of CEOs to determine the best and worst places to do business in the United States for 2010. California came in last among the fifty states and Washington D.C. as a place to do business, underscoring the weakened competitive position of the state. A distinction it has now held for six straight years. The survey asked business leaders to rank states based on taxation and regulation, quality of workforce and living environment.

Despite its favorable climate, California rated lowest in the survey due to high taxes and heavy regulations, high unemployment rate and heavy union presence. Income tax runs as high as 10 percent for top earners, and many of those tax dollars go to benefits for California's swelling number of government employees, with $500 billion in unfunded pension and health care liabilities for state workers. And unions are growing - from 16.1 percent of workers in 1998 to 17.8 percent in 2002.