Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax bill slightly ahead of competitor

S.F. Examiner File PhotoGov. Jerry Brown backs Proposition 30.

The tax plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown on the November ballot has more support than a competing measure, according to new polling numbers released today.

Proposition 30, the Brown proposal, would increase the tax on income exceeding $250,000 for seven years and increase the sales tax by one-quarter of 1 percent. In San Francisco, that would increase the sales tax from 8.5 percent to 8.75 percent. The money would primarily go toward education and public safety.

Fifty-two percent of likely voters support Prop. 30, according to a poll released today by the Public Policy Institute of California. Support for the measure is highest among Democrats, with 73 percent of backing the measure.

“Voters have shown strong and steady support for Prop. 30 because they know that cutting schools and colleges is no way to keep California’s economy strong,” said Sean Clegg, a spokesman for the Prop. 30 campaign.

Support for Proposition 38, a dueling measure proposed by millionaire Molly Munger, is split evenly, with 45 percent of voters supporting and 45 percent opposing the measure. Eleven percent of voters are still undecided.

“We are exactly where we want to be,” Prop. 38 strategist Nathan Ballard said. “Soon our ads will be going on the air, explaining to voters how Prop. 38 benefits local schools, and our poll numbers will begin to rise.”

Munger has donated millions to support her measure, which would increase the income tax on a sliding scale for all Californians except those earning less than $7,316 per year for a single person. Prop. 38 would set aside funds specifically for education.

Passage of Prop. 30 would increase funds for the state general fund as well as increase the funding for public education, but failure means deep cuts. The measure includes so-called trigger cuts that would ax nearly $6 billion from the state budget.

In The City, the San Francisco Unified School District stands to lose about $24 million if Prop. 30 fails. City College of San Francisco, which is in a battle to maintain accreditation, stands to lose $10 million.

The California State University system board of trustees voted Wednesday to raise tuition by 5 percent for students at its 23 campuses if Prop. 30 fails. The education system, which serves roughly 427,000, stands to lose about $250 million under the trigger cuts.

Both taxes, which need a simple majority to pass, face an uphill battle for voter approval during the economic downturn, according to Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute.

“No questions that voters are concerned about education, but they are concerned about raising their taxes and sending that money to Sacramento,” Baldassare said Wednesday.

If both tax measures are approved by voters in the November election, the one with the highest number of votes would prevail, though Baldassare noted that situations involving passage of competing ballot propositions often end up in court.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

Proposition 30 Yes No Don't Know
All likely voters 52% 40% 8%
Public school parents 51% 39% 10%
Democrats 73% 17% 10%
Republicans 26% 65% 9%
Independents 53% 44% 2%
Proposition 38 Yes No Don't Know
All likely voters 45% 45% 11%
Public school parents 45% 40% 15%
Democrats 61% 26% 13%
Republicans 21% 68% 10%
Independents 53% 37% 10%

Source: Public Policy Institute of California

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