Majority of Calif. Voters Support Compromise Tax Hike Plan, Poll Finds

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Most California voters support a compromise tax initiative developed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and supporters of the "Millionaires Tax," according to a poll by the University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The poll surveyed about 1,500 registered California voters from March 14 through March 19 (York, Los Angeles Times, 3/25).

Background

Brown recently announced a deal with supporters of the Millionaires Tax to merge their proposals into a new single initiative for the November ballot.

The newly revised tax plan includes a smaller sales tax hike and a larger personal income tax increase on the wealthy than Brown initially had proposed.

The new proposal also would:

  • Increase the personal income tax by one percentage point for individuals who earn $250,000 annually or couples who earn $500,000 annually and by two percentage points for individuals who earn $300,000 annually or couples who earn $600,000 annually;
  • Extend the income tax increases on wealthy residents from five to seven years; and
  • Increase the sales tax by a quarter of a cent, down from Brown's original half-cent increase.

The sales tax hike would expire in four years, as called for in Brown's original plan.

The merged plan would raise an estimated $9 billion over the next fiscal year, $2.1 billion more than Brown's original proposal.

The compromise plan is rivaled by a plan by attorney Molly Munger, called "Our Children, Our Future." Munger's plan aims to raise income taxes for all residents, with the highest earners seeing the largest hike. Most of the funds raised would support education programs (California Healthline, 3/25).

Poll Findings

The poll found that 64% of respondents said they support the compromise plan. About 33% of respondents said they oppose the plan, according to the poll (Los Angeles Times, 3/25).

The poll also found that:

  • 64% of those surveyed said they oppose Munger's proposal, while 32% said they support it;
  • 49% of respondents said California's budget should be balanced with a combination of cuts and tax hikes; and
  • 45% of respondents said the state's taxes already are too high and that the state budget deficit should be closed by cutting government services.
The poll also found that 68% of respondents said they support Proposition 29, a June ballot initiative that would increase California's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack to raise an estimated $850 million annually for cancer research (Los Angeles Times, 3/25).

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