AB 43 Passes Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee

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Sacramento, CA – AB 43 authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) passed the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee this evening. The bill provides additional revenue for preschool and after-school programs, both proven to lower incarceration rates.  AB 43 accomplishes this by taxing private prisons and other for-profit businesses that contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

“I commend the Revenue and Tax Committee members for moving this bill forward,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “Investing in early education and after-school programs has proven to be a successful method to reduce the possibility of incarceration.  Let’s educate our youth and not profit from their incarceration.”

California spends huge amounts to incarcerate prisoners. Current active contracts between for-profit companies and the CDCR total approximately $4.5 billion.  In comparison, the state spends relatively little on programs known to prevent incarceration.

Companies continue to profit as a result of high state incarceration rates.  These for-profit companies provide goods and services to state facilities, at a markup.  In effect, taxpayers are stuck footing the bill while these companies see large profits for goods and services due to California’s prison population.

Studies show that access to high-quality preschool programs results in a 20% lower likelihood of incarceration.  Preschool attendance also leads to an increased likelihood of attending a four-year college and higher lifetime income earnings compared to those who do not attend preschool. 

Effective after-school programs bring a wide range of benefits to youth, families and communities. After-school programs have proven to enhance academic performance, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for the children of working parents.

AB 43 addresses the prison to pipeline system. This bill drastically changes the trend of reducing our prison population beyond focusing on recidivism or sentence reductions this bill will reduce the prison population.

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, California Federation of Teachers, California Nurses Association, Californians for Justice, City of Berkeley, Partnership for Children and youth, and SEIU are in support of this bill. First 5 Association of California and the California Teacher Association are co-sponsors of this bill.

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.