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Media Advisory for Monday, August 24

For Immediate Release

Commit to Equity Caravan in Fresno, CA

**Versión en español incluida**


On the Ground Contact: Estevan Gutierrez, 559.392.1023




Revenue needed to invest in California’s recovery before today’s crises become catastrophes.


FRESNO, Calif. – The Commit to Equity coalition is demanding lawmakers vote on new legislation to tax the income and wealth of mega-millionaires and billionaires before the State Legislature adjourns at the end of this month, arguing more tax revenue is needed to invest in California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, historic unemployment, and enduring racial inequity. With the state’s finances in deficit, cuts to schools, healthcare, and essential community services will be inevitable without new taxes, which will set back California’s recovery and widen racial inequity as the Great Recession of 2008 did.


Frontline workers across multiple cities, including Fresno, will take part in a caravan action calling on Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula and State Senator Melissa Hurtado to take a stance in support of AB 2088 and AB 1253. Both bills were introduced in the context of growing inequality. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 154 billionaires who live in California got over $175 billion richer, and 11 more became billionaires while working families have been struggling.


WHO: Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 521 California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, Central Valley Partnership, and Central Labor Council of Fresno, Madera, Tulare, and Kings Counties. 

WHEN:  Monday, August 24th, 2020

TIME: 5:15 PM Assemble at meet up location, decorate cars

            6:15 PM Caravan Commences 

On the ground interviews will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. at meet up location as workers and allies prepare for the caravan start. 

Meet up location: Street Parking on Santa Fe Avenue and Kern Street. 


EVENT VISUALS: Vehicles covered with colorful protest signs, drivers honking along public streets, purple SEIU shirts, colorful streamers on cars. 


With the pandemic lingering on, we can see at a national and local level the increase of death and sickness. But what is happening simultaneously, is the fact that working families are struggling like never before. COVID-19 has paralyzed all of our abilities to earn a decent living. Meanwhile, our elected officials stay silent and remain in lock step with their corporate campaign contributors and shareholders. Then there is us, the 99%, who are forced to watch those uber-wealthy profit off of our families and communities while we suffer. There is no time like this one, to rise up to this incredible challenge, and to be the bold leaders our brothers and sisters deserve, for the sake of our nation and beloved Golden State.” – Ron Emenheiser, SEIU 521 Fresno County Chapter Senior Shop Steward


Background on AB 2088 and AB 1253

AB 2088 (“Wealth Tax”) would apply a 0.4% tax on the net worth of taxpayers holding at least $30 million in net assets, impacting approximately 30,400 people and generating $7.5 billion a year. The tax would apply to all assets and liabilities held by Californians globally, capturing the immense levels of accumulated wealth held by the top 0.1 percent. The formula does not include taxes to real property owned in California.

AB 1253 (“Millionaires Tax”) would impact approximately 70,0000 taxpayers and generate $6.5 billion a year by raising income taxes on households with incomes above $1 million per year in three tiers: 

  • income above $1 million, the tax rate would increase by 1% from 13.3% to 14.3%
  • income above $2 million, the tax rate would increase by 3% from 13.3% to 16.3%
  • income above $5 million, the tax rate would increase by 3.5% from 13.3% to 16.8%.

As the Legislature’s session winds down this month, multiple, mutually reinforcing crises have a firm grip on California.

  • 14.9% are unemployed. The majority of jobs lost were in low-paying industries and employment for Black and Latino women fell over 20% – more than three times the decline in employment for white men.
  • California faces an eviction tsunami as legal protections lapse on September 1 and 5 million renters face the prospect of eviction, which will be fueled by the loss of $600 in augmented monthly unemployment benefits under the federal CARES Act.
  • Schools face a $20 billion shortfall and lack resources to reopen safely, fueling wider achievement gaps, since 1.2 million students lack tools for distance learning.
  • With 4,000 childcare providers closing this year because of COVID, and 1,000 closing in July alone, this vital resource is harder to get and more parents are forced to choose between work and caring for their kids.
  • A second wave of COVID-19 is taking hold and over 100 state-funded coronavirus testing sites across California face an unknown future after August.
  • In the middle of a pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Californians are estimated to have lost health coverage along with their jobs and income, and yet cuts were made to health coverage, and an additional $1.2 billion in cuts are scheduled for Medi-Cal without additional revenue.
  • $14 billion in “trigger cuts” are coming to our schools, affordable housing, and safety net services unless the federal government acts responsibly to support essential state and local frontline services by October 15th.  
  • Billions of additional cuts are coming next year, which will cause inequities to widen given the disparate racial impacts of budget cuts.    


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Service Employees International Union, Local 521 represents 53,000 public- and nonprofit, private-sector workers in California’s central Bay Area region and in the Central Valley. Under a Community First vision, we are committed to making sure the needs of our community, and the vital services we provide our community, come first. We believe our communities thrive when residents, leaders and workers recognize that we are all in this together when it comes to our safety, health, and well-being.




Estevan Gutierrez

Communications Specialist

SEIU 521


C: 559.392.1023