California’s battling tax hike initiatives
December 12, 2011
Californians overwhelmingly support raising taxes to support public education, but three such competing initiatives could be defeated because of voter confusion. [LosAngelesTimes]
Funding for California’s public school system ranks 42nd among states in student spending. In addition, university students face rising tuitions, diminishing class ability and larger student to teacher ratios.
The majority of Californians favor increasing taxes if the monies are used to support public education.
“Last month, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that 64 percent of state voters favored increasing funding for schools even if it meant raising taxes, while just 32 percent opposed the idea Californians seem to have had it with the underfunding of their schools,” the Los Angeles Times said.
Even so, with three proposed tax-hike initiatives receiving funding by credible backers, if they all appear on the November ballot they could work to defeat one another.
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed an initiative slated to raise about $7 billion a year over the next five years, primarily for schools, through increasing income taxes on the wealthiest Californians and hiking the state sales tax by half a percentage point, the Los Angeles Times said.
A coalition headed by the California Federation of Teachers is promoting a second initiative that would raise about $6 billion a year, chiefly for schools, by raising taxes on wealthy Californians.
Education activist Molly Munger proposed a third initiative that would raise about $10 billion a year, chiefly for schools, by hiking the income taxes of all but the poorest Californians.
If the three similar proposals end up on the November ballot, the conflict could help promote a fourth proposal by billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen that looks to fund schools by levying a new sales tax on services while slashing taxes for the richest Californians.