Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two 2012 ballot initiatives to raise taxes in California #Occupy

Bob Samuels describes the new ballot initiative on taxes that emerged as a compromise between Governor Jerry Brown's initiative and the California Federation of Teachers' Millionaire's Tax.

a. 1% increase on incomes of $250,000 ($500,000 for couples). No change from Governor’s initiative.
b. 2% increase on incomes of $300,000 ($600,000 for couples). Governor’s initiative was 1.5%.
c. 3% increase on incomes of $500,000 ($1 million for couples). Governor’s initiative was 2%.
d. These tax increases remain in place for 7 years. Governor’s initiative was 5 years.
2. SALES TAX: increase quarter cent (Governor’s was half cent). Same expiration as the Governor’s.
3. STRUCTURE: The measure will be based on the Governor’s initiative structure, with the changes noted in #1 and #2 above.
4. REVENUES (NOTE: THESE ESTIMATES ARE PRELIMINARY): This new measure will generate about $9 billion for the 2012-13 budget (up from the $6.9 billion in the Governor’s initiative).

Meanwhile Pasadena civil rights attorney, Molly Munger, the daughter of billionaire Berkshire Hathaway chairman Charles Munger, pushes forward with her own initiative despite Brown's claim that the presence of two tax initiatives on the ballot will kill them both.  Munger's initiative, "Our Children Our Future," increases income taxes on a sliding scale ranging from 4/10 of 1% for households making less than $35,000 and 2.2% for couples making more than $5 million.  It seems unlikely to pass as it raises income taxes on more than just rich people.  The tax increase will raise $10 billion and this will be earmarked for K-12 education.  The initiative has been endorsed by the California Parent Teacher Association (PTA).  Munger has donated $3.4 million to the effort and has already begun airing a very nice television ad.  Munger and Brown are talking but have not yet reached any agreement.

Brown claims that all the money raised by his initiative will go to K-12 education and community colleges but this is only technically true because Brown will reduce other funding to schools and colleges in order to balance California's budget.


  1. The PTA/Molly Munger initiative is by far the best one for education. $20 billion cut from schools over the last four years, money diverted, money deferred. Enough is enough. Who is going to sustain income taxes and help our state function if we have an uneducated and under educated work force? We will remain in our deficit hole as long as funding for education lags. CA has the largest student to teacher, student to administrator and student to counselor ratio in the COUNTRY. We would need to increase funding to each and every classroom in CA by $60,000 a year just to CATCH UP to the national AVERAGE.

    The "Our Children Our Future" initiative calls for a broad based income tax on all but the poorest. A median income of $55,000 would be taxed $250 -- you probably spend that on cookie dough, wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions and whatever else the schools are asking their students to peddle these days just to provide the basics.

    The money will be over and above any Prop 98 minimum and DOES NOT PASS THROUGH SACRAMENTO. It instead goes directly to school districts -- early childhood programs, preschool and K-12, with strict accountability. It cannot be used to raise current teacher salaries, but can be used to hire new teachers to help reduce class sizes.

    PTA has been advocating for kids - for free -- for 115 years. My vote goes with them and the kids.

  2. Provost Breslauer’s Chancellor Birgeneau, decision to ‘charge Californians higher tuition’ means Cal. nationally ranked #1 public university total academic cost - resident. Cal ranked # 2 in faculty earning potential. UC Berkeley tuition is rising faster than costs at other universities. Believe it: Harvard College cheaper than Cal.

    University of California negates the promise of equality of opportunity: access, affordability is farther and farther out of reach. Self-absorbed Birgeneau, Breslauer are outspoken for public UC Berkeley ‘charging Californians much higher’ tuition. Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer leave an indelible legacy on access, affordability.

    Birgeneau ($450,000) Breslauer ($306,000) like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving them the demanded funding. The ‘charge Californians higher’ tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic years. If Chancellor Provost had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Breslauer Berheneau increase disparities in higher education and defeat the promise of equality of opportunity. An unacceptable legacy for all Californians.

    Additional state tax funding should sunset. The sluggish economy and 10% unemployment devistate family education savings. Simply asking for more taxes to fund self-absorbed Cal.senior leadership, old inefficient higher education models and fund excessive faculty staff compensation, burdensome bonuses, is not the answer.

    UC Berkeley is to maximize access to the widest number of Californians at a reasonable cost: mission of diversity, equality of opportunity. Birgeneau’s Breslauer’s ‘charge Californians higher’ tuition denies middle income families the transformative value of Cal.

    The California dream: keep it alive at Cal. fire (honorably retire) Provost George W Breslauer. Birgeneau resigned.

    Opinions? UC Board of Regents Calif. State Senators, Assembly members.