Californians support raising taxes on the rich

April 28, 2011

Fear of teacher layoffs and other cuts to public schools is leading a majority of Californians to support some combination of spending cuts and taxes in order to close the state’s $26 billion budget gap, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released today. [CaliforniaWatch]

A majority of likely voters – 61 percent – support the general framework of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to fill the budget hole with a combination of spending cuts and new revenues. But the poll also shows an electorate that is still very divided over what those revenues should be.

A majority of adults opposes raising sales and income taxes, but more than two-thirds of adults support raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest earners, California Watch said.

A majority also said they would support local bond measures to pay for school construction projects, and 59 percent said they would support local parcel taxes in order to help fund schools. Since Proposition 26 passed last year, new taxes and fees must now be passed with a two-thirds vote, leaving support for parcel taxes well short of the required threshold.

“Californians’ support for maintaining K–12 spending remains strong. It is a significant factor for the state’s leaders to take into account in any proposals that they put before voters this year,” institute President and CEO Mark Baldassare said in a statement. “Residents are worried about the toll that reduced spending is having on the quality of K–12 public education, and public school parents are noticing the impact of state budget cuts on their children’s schools.”

The poll, which was funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (also a major donor to California Watch), focuses largely on parents’ attitudes toward education in the state.

Among other things, it seems to show that voters are supportive of school reform measures. A majority of Californians said they believe teacher salaries should be tied to performance – a rallying cry for school reformers that has been picking up momentum in other states.

The poll also shows that voters overwhelmingly prefer having local control over their schools. That view fits closely with Brown’s desire to give local governments more control over critical services – perhaps one reason why his approval rating rose to 40 percent in this poll from 34 percent last month, according to California watch.



  1. LittleAcorn says:

    I’m in favor of all taxpayers supporting education, not just those with kids. This country needs each generation to be educated, we’re seeing the results of failing at education now with poorly educated workers.

    Again, rather than blaming one group — either teachers or administrators — in education we should learn where every dollar goes in our educational system and decide what best to do with the dollars that education gets.

    As far as colleges are concerned, raising the cost of education makes it harder for poorer citizens, to the point where only the wealthy will be able to afford college.

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • easymoney says:

      If I’m not mistaken all taxpayers especially if you own property, a home or are bulding a home already support our schools… Check out the schools fees mandated for a building permit sometime.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  2. JonnyB says:

    Conservative Tax Tricks – Did Tax Cuts Grow The Economy?

    Tax Cuts Are Theft

    Conservatives like to say that taxes are theft. In fact it is tax cuts that are theft because they break a long-standing contract.

    The American Social Contract: We, the People built our democracy and the empowerment and protections it bestows. We built the infrastructure, schools and all of the public structures, laws, courts, monetary system, etc. that enable enterprise to prosper. That prosperity is the bounty of our democracy and by contract it is supposed to be shared and reinvested. That is the contract. Our system enables some people to become wealthy but all of us are supposed to benefit from this system. Why else would We, the People have set up this system, if not for the benefit of We, the People?

    (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
    • srichison says:

      Tax cuts are theft? Only if you believe you have the right to take my money from my pocket – and then I want it back. The taking it back isn’t the theft; the taking it in the first place may be.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. JonnyB says:

    3: In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.

    The Internal Revenue Service issues an annual report on the 400 highest income-tax payers. In 1961, there were 398 taxpayers who made $1 million or more, so I compared their income tax burdens from that year to 2007.

    Despite skyrocketing incomes, the federal tax burden on the richest 400 has been slashed, thanks to a variety of loopholes, allowable deductions and other tools. The actual share of their income paid in taxes, according to the IRS, is 16.6 percent. Adding payroll taxes barely nudges that number.

    Compare that to the vast majority of Americans, whose share of their income going to federal taxes increased from 13.1 percent in 1961 to 22.5 percent in 2007.

    9 Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know About Taxes

    (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down

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