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Marin, San Francisco, Sonoma Counties, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter

California needs to prioritize education if we hope to remain the 8th largest economy in the world.

By Mark Leno

Candidate for State Senator; District 3

This information is provided by the candidate
The reason California has grown to be such an economic power in the world is that we had a world class education system in this state that was second to none.
We are the wealthiest state in the country and yet we are 46 out of 50 states in per pupil spending. Next year we will spending more money on incarcerating prisoners than we will be on funding higher education. This is unacceptable. We need to get back to investing in education the way we did 40 and 50 years ago.

When talking about education and the budget, it is important to remember how we got where we are today. Arnold Schwarzenegger caused the budget crisis that is crippling our schools on his very first day in office when he rescinded the restoration of the Vehicle License Fee (VLF), a 50 year old progressive tax that pays for schools, parks, fire departments, etc. By returning an average of $200 each to Californians when there was no money in the general funds to do so, the governor has thrown us into a $6 billion hole every year he's been in office. He borrowed the money to refund it to the voters, while asking us to pay interest on the debt and raising college tuition for our children by $2000.

The first step we should take in ending our budget deficit and fully funding our schools is restoring the VLF. I also propose that we start charging an extraction fee to oil companies who drill oil out of our ground. We are the only oil producing state in the nation who doesn't charge an extraction fee to the companies who drill for oil and make a profit off of what they find. While it wouldn't erase the deficit, it could offset the need to layoff over 100,000 teachers this coming September.

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