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Education-Related Ballot Measures: An Update

Hillel Aron | September 29, 2012

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A new Los Angeles Times / USC poll shows support for Governor Jerry Brown’s Prop 30 ballot initiative – which would temporarily raise income tax on high earners – has slipped to 54%, down 10 points from March. Despite the erosion, Democratic voters still overwhelmingly favor it, 69-20%.  Meanwhile, Molly Munger’s competing tax measure, Prop 38, has the support of only 34% of voters.

This seems a good time for an update on the three initiatives that will have the biggest impact on LAUSD and public education in California: Propositions 30, 32 and 38. The expenditure data is from a nice interactive feature on the Los Angeles Times website.

Proposition 30
The initiative, being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown, would temporarily raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000 (for seven years) and increase the sales tax by a quarter of a cent (for four years). The money would allow the state to avoid automatic “trigger cuts” – which were designed by Brown himself – that would fall mostly on public education, to the tune of $6 billion. Detractors say this measure won’t result in more money for schools.

Money raised in support: $39.8 million
Money raised against: $1.1 million
Biggest donor in support: California Teachers Association, $6.1 million
Biggest donor against: Charles B. Johnson, $200,000

Brown has worked hard to raise money to support the measure, but will it be enough to get it to the finish line?

Proposition 32
Prop 32 would prohibit unions and corporations from using automatic employee paychecks deductions to fund political campaigns. This ban would have the biggest impact on unions, which rely on paycheck deductions to fund their political operations.

Money raised in support: $9.3 million
Money raised against: $44.9 million
Biggest donor in support: American Future Fund, $4 million
Biggest donor against: California Teachers Association, $18 million

The top priority for unions in California this year is to defeat Prop 32, which it sees as an attempt by business interests to shut labor out of the political process – Common Cause and campaign finance reformers agree.  A new LAT / USC poll finds that voters don’t like the measure – 44% oppose the ban while 36% support it. Labor is money pouring in to defeat it.

Proposition 38
The other tax proposal to address the states budget woes is sponsored, and almost entirely bankrolled, by civil rights attorney, Molly Munger. Prop 38 would raise personal income tax rates on a sliding scale, over a 12 year period.  With an estimated $115 billion going exclusively to schools, it garnered support from the California State PTA, but alas, not the teachers unions.

Money raised in support: $28.2 million
Money raised against: $26,000
Biggest donor in support: Molly Munger, $28 million
Biggest donor against: California Chamber of Commerce, $23,500

Prop 38 has a tough hill to climb. The latest LAT / USC poll has fifty-two percent of voters opposing it with 34 percent supporting it.

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