As expected, Governor Brown is sticking to his guns: Once again he will try to find support for an increase in taxes, but this time he will take the initiative route. On Monday the Administration officially announced the launch of the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, as the proposal has now been officially filed with the Attorney General's Office. After Republicans refused to support any tax increases earlier this year, the governor has been forced to take his plans directly to the voters through a signature-gathering campaign. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone at this point who believes a bipartisan tax deal is likely in 2012. So what’s the gist of Brown’s proposal? Essentially he wants to raise $7 billion annually by taxing the rich and hiking the sales tax by half a cent. Both of these tax hikes would expire at the end of 2016. You can read the full ballot measure's language here.
The text of the measure emphasizes repeatedly that funding will support education as well as realignment, i.e. public safety. The measure states, “This measure gives constitutional protection to the shift of local public safety programs from state to local control and the shift of state revenues to local government to pay for those programs. It guarantees that schools are not harmed by providing even more funding than schools would have received without the shift.”
To corral support around this initiative, the governor also released “An Open Letter to the People of California.” The letter states: “The stark truth is that without new tax revenues, we will have no other choice but to make deeper and more damaging cuts to schools, universities, public safety, and our courts.” The governor also explains that he is resorting to an initiative because he does not want to get bogged down by partisan gridlock and that the stakes are too high. You can read the full letter here.
But the governor isn’t the only one setting his sights on tax increases, as there are now 4 other efforts in the works as well. To keep you in the know, here’s a quick rundown on what else is out there:
1. CA Federation of Teachers: This outfit is proposing to tax the wealthy also; namely, those earning more than $1 million would see their income taxes go up so that schools would receive more funding. This proposal is projected to raise $6 billion
2. Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs: In an attempt to raise $1.1 billion, out-of-state companies would see their corporate taxes increase so that clean energy projects could be funded.
3. Think Long Committee: This proposal has a few components; one, raise taxes on out-of-state firms; two, extend the sales tax; three, reduce income and corporate taxes. This would reportedly raise $10 billion.
4. Molly Munger’s proposal: In order to rake in $10 billion, this civil rights advocate is getting behind a plan that would raise income taxes for most Californians (except the poor). The funds would go toward education, preschools and early-childhood development programs.
Concerns have already been raised that with 5 tax plans floating, voters may be less receptive or that the different proposals will cancel each other out. Californians traditionally turn down measures that involve taxes, as the Chronicle reports that “Voters have rejected the last seven tax-raising measures put before them, and history shows that when Californians see similar-sounding measures on the ballot, they vote no on all of them.” However, recent polling suggested that voters would support tax increases for education, so the Brown Administration has made sure to emphasize that the new revenues will "be spent only on education."