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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Proposition 30 Passes By 8-Point Margin After Jerry Brown's Statewide Tour

Matt Pressberg |
November 7, 2012 | 12:28 p.m. PST


(Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
(Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
Gov. Jerry Brown’s last-minute push may have been decisive in nudging Proposition 30 across the finish line, as California voters approved the tax increase to fund education 54-46, averting $6 billion in automatic cuts scheduled to take effect January 1.

The California State University system immediately rescinded a tuition increase, meaning students will receive $249 rebates.

 "We are hopeful that the passage of Proposition 30 will be the beginning of the state's reinvestment in higher education," said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed. “The long term benefits of additional revenue can only be realized if higher education is once again a priority. The state needs to start making up for the devastating budget cuts of the past several years, and focus on higher education as a driver of California’s economic future."

The governor had been the most visible supporter of Proposition 30, having staked a large part of his legacy on his plan, projected to raise up to $6 billion per year, according to the state’s legislative analyst. California unusually requires a two-thirds “supermajority” for its state’s legislature to increase taxes (and before 2010, to approve a budget), which is why the Democratic governor couldn’t just have his Democratic State Assembly and State Senate pass such legislation and had to resort to a ballot initiative.

Proposition 30 proposed an additional marginal tax on those who earn above $250,000 a year ($500,000 for couples) for seven years and a quarter-cent sales tax increase for four years. The income tax increase would be 1 percent for single filers with incomes between $250,000-$300,000, 2 percent for incomes between $300,000 -$500,000 and 3 percent for those earning above $500,000. The revenue would go to the state’s budget, where it would support a higher level of school funding.

"Its passage, however, does not signal the end of the state’s budget woes," the Public Policy Institute of California wrote Wednesday. "Several of the more aggressive revenue and savings assumptions in the 2012–13 budget could prove too optimistic. And more work will be needed to eliminate the state’s structural deficit and retire the $35 billion budget-related 'wall of debt.'"

"An improving revenue picture will put pressure on the state to undo recent budget cuts," the institute added.

According to Ballotpedia, The California Teachers Association was the single largest donor in support of Proposition 30, giving over $10.4 million. SEIU contributed $9.9 million and the American Federation of Teachers added another $4.2 million.

Billionaire Charles Munger, Jr., brother of Proposition 38 sponsor Molly Munger, gave over $32 million to a group called the Small Business Action Committee, which simultaneously opposed Proposition 30 and supported Proposition 32, which failed Tuesday. While both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38, which was soundly rejected at the polls, were tax increases to fund education, only one could ultimately have taken effect.

Proposition 30 had been struggling in recent polls, as a late start to the governor’s retail campaigning combined with a well-funded opposition and the inherent uphill battle involved in getting any tax increase passed had eroded public support for the governor’s signature bill.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll released on October 24 showed only 48 percent of Californian’s approving of the plan, and an October 25 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll had only 46 percent voting in favor, down from previous surveys showing support over the 50 percent needed to pass.

Tuesday’s big victory once again sends a message that Californias are willing to tax the rich to pay for essential public services.



Proposition 30's Fate Hinges On Whether Jerry Brown Can Capture Unsure Liberals

Prop 30 Vs. Prop 38: Why Teachers And Parents Are Divided

Prop 30 And Prop 38: Dueling Plans To Save California's Schools


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of the California Propositions here.

Reach Editor-at-Large Matt Pressberg here.



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