Poll shows tax-the-rich measure hurt by Brown's merger

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Gov. Jerry Brown created a challenge for himself by saddling the Millionaire's Tax with a sales tax increase.

A new poll confirms a fear we've raised before – Gov. Jerry Brown's insistence on coupling the popular tax on millionaires with an unpopular increase in the sales tax could doom the revenue package this November – putting pressure on the governor and his allies to step up their political games and save the schools from disastrous cuts.

The SF Chronicle's story on the Public Policy Institute of California poll focused on the disconnect voters have between government services they support and their willingness to pay for them, which isn't exactly news to anyone. A big reason for this state's dire fiscal situation is that people want something for nothing.

Last year, thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement highlighting how the richest 1 percent have amassed ever-greater wealth at the expense of the rest of us, that dynamic began to change. People started to openly and consistently advocate for increasing taxes on the wealthy, no longer cowed by accusations of “class warfare.”

The PPIC poll found that 65 percent of respondents like the idea of taxing millionaires and putting that money toward education, while 80 percent oppose the $5 billion in trigger cuts to schools that will occur if voters reject the tax measure. But only a slim majority of 54 percent favor the measure that Brown is pushing, mostly because 52 percent say they don't like the sales tax increase, a regressive tax that will likely be highlighted repeatedly by opponents of the measure.

That's a big challenge for the broad coalition that supports the measure, but it's an especially big deal for Brown. He was the one who created this bad combination in the first place, and convinced the California Federation of Teachers to drop its Millionaires Tax – the clean measure that would have 65 percent support right now – in favor of a merged measure that's a bit more progressive than Brown's original idea.

Assembly member Tom Ammiano and other progressives we respect have said they like the compromise and worried that competing tax measures could sink them all in this make-or-break election (that's because under state law, tax measures need a simple majority only during presidential elections, meaning it will be four more years until we have this opportunity again).

Maybe, but the sales tax increase was never a good idea, and these poll numbers show they've got a difficult challenge on their hands. In particular, Brown will need to finally prove his repeated campaign statements that he's the one with the knowledge, skills, and experience to get things done in the dysfunctional, gridlocked state. It's time to make good on those words, governor.

Comments

A tax on the poor to pay the rich pensions of state employees and school district administrators?? Are you kidding me?

I'd be stunned if it got 40%.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2012 @ 4:57 pm
Posted by The Commish on Apr. 27, 2012 @ 7:23 am

This drivel by conservative pseudo-Democrat David Crane is misleading and unlikely to have a big impact on the campaign. The reason why CalSTRS and every other public sector agency is underfunded is because we've been unwilling to make the rich (including Crane and his clients) pay their fair share for decades now. If we had done so, public sector money managers would have been able to balance their books without having to be so overly optimistic about investment returns. So this measure isn't about paying for public employee pensions, it's about finally asking for something back from the rich people who have amassed so much wealth while teachers have been barely getting by, and often being forced out of the profession as a result. Crane's portrayal of teachers getting "unconditionally guaranteed lifetime pensions" is meant to be incendiary and play to right-wing hatred of government, but anyone who knows what teachers actually make and how much they get in pensions would know this is a bullshit conservative propaganda piece masquerading as serious minded fiscal analysis. Don't buy it. 

Posted by steven on Apr. 27, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

Steven, your problem is not pseudo Democrat Crane, it is pseudo Democrat Jerry Brown. What does it mean when most Democrats are pseudo democrats?

I mean, how many of Mark Leno's bills did pseudo Democrat Jerry Brown veto last session? What does it mean that self described raging moderate Mark Leno is a raging radical when compared to Jerry Brown?

Raising the sales tax? I don't think so.

Posted by guest on Apr. 27, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

For the record, you did not provide one fact to rebut anything Crane wrote.

Crane knows his stuff. You do not.

Fun rant though. Don't recall lefties attacking wealth when John Kerry ran for president.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2012 @ 8:41 am

You didn't explain how his article was "misleading" or disagree with the gist of his article. If school districts are billions in the whole for pensions, and the new tax would give them less than that, where do you think the money is going?

As for the "fair share" spin, spare us. California has the third highest state income tax rate in the country at 9.3%. For people making over a million, tack on an extra 1%. That 1% was supposed to go to mental health services, but the legislature has consistently raided the fund.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 28, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

General tax measures in California require 50%+1 during years when the legislature is up for election, which includes both years when the governor and the president are up for election.

Posted by guest on Apr. 27, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

People were mocking us for pointing this out, saying that Jerry's political acumen was better than that of progressive critics. Of course those same people are now oddly making comments opposing the new measure. I saw that coming too. The people who applauded Jerry's move never wanted to raise revenue in the first place. They just loved the fact that the measure was being weakened. Now it's easier to fight the watered-down, poison pill-infused measure, so now their true sentiments come out.

The worst part about it is that it was never Jerry's political acumen that I questioned. It's his values.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 29, 2012 @ 9:34 am

what a wonderful article..thank you so much.

Posted by Zalando Gutscheincode on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 6:38 am