Majority of Calif. Voters Support Compromise Tax Plan, USC 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 an experimental online poll by the University of Southern California's Dornsife College of Letters, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/12).

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 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, 3/26).

Poll Findings

The new poll was an experiment to test methodology and ask more in-depth questions than a recent USC telephone poll, according to poll director Dan Schnur.

The online poll found that 63% of respondents said they support the compromise plan. About 30% of respondents said they oppose the plan, according to the online poll.

The online poll found that 24% of respondents said they support Munger's competing tax plan.

The findings were close to the results of USC's telephone poll, which was conducted simultaneously (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/12).

The telephone poll found that 64% of respondents said they support the compromise plan, while about 33% of respondents said they oppose the plan. According to the telephone poll, 32% of respondents said they support Munger's competing plan (California Healthline, 3/26).

Munger Contributes $2.15M to Tax Plan Campaign

Meanwhile, Munger has contributed an additional $2.15 million to the campaign for her tax plan. Supporters of the plan must collect about 504,000 valid voter signatures by mid-May to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Nathan Ballard -- spokesperson for the campaign -- said Munger's investment "shows that we are serious about getting this measure on the ballot." He said, "The signature gathering is on track," adding, "We are meeting our goals every week" (Van Oot, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/12).

Robert Forster
Unfortunately this delays the inevitable of reforming our bloated infrastructure and inefficient state programs (with their costly staffs). Where are the controls representing tax payers looking out for us to make sure every penny is wisely used? Like the GSA, I am sure the same abuse exists in California--just look at the legislator benefits and net worths as they leave the legislature. I don't either envy or begrudge people making high total incomes, but public officials should have transparent revenue sources while in office.

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