Tax Initiative Update


Supporters of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative released internal polling this past week in their ongoing effort to persuade the backers of competing proposals to ditch their plans.

A memo regarding the poll, which was conducted by J. Moore Methods in Sacramento, backs the Democratic governor's argument that a November ballot stacked with multiple tax measures will increase the likelihood that voters reject all the tax hikes.

The polls conclusion is that "If multiple tax measures are on the ballot at the same time, voters will naturally choose one measure over another, which will make it extremely difficult for any one measure to receive over 50 percent of the vote."

Brown advisor Steve Glazer stated, "It reinforces the fact that if all three measures on the ballot, it will be a circular firing squad where everyone will lose."

Civil rights attorney Molly Munger's proposal to increase income taxes on all but the poorest Californians for 12 years to fund schools and early childhood education programs performed the worst in the statewide survey of 500 voters.  Only 31 percent of voters said they would support that proposal, based on the title and summary drafted for one version of her measure.  A second version, which sends some of the money to repay bond debt, was approved for signature-gathering this week.

The Governor's plan, which would temporarily increase income taxes on Californians earning more than $250,000 and raise the sales tax by a half of a percentage point, won support of 53 percent of respondents, while a tax hike on millionaires proposed by the California Federation of Teachers and the Courage Campaign was backed by 55 percent of those surveyed.

However, support for each proposal dropped below 50 percent when respondents were asked about the prospect of all three being on the ballot.

Proponents of all three plans have been cleared to start gathering the more than 500,000 valid voter signatures needed to secure a spot on the November ballot.  That task can cost upwards of $2 million.