Brown to file initiative to raise funds for education

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to bypass the state legislature by filing an initiative with the state Attorney General’s office that would generate nearly $7 billion in dedicated funding for public safety and education.

In an open letter to the people of California Monday, Brown announced a proposal that would require millionaires and high income earners to pay up to 2 percent higher income taxes for five years, while also instituting a temporary 0.5 cent increase on the sales tax.

Last January, Brown proposed a budget that called for a combination of cuts and tax extensions to address the state’s financial woes, part of which would have been sent to the voters. But the legislature failed to garner enough votes to place that measure on the ballot.

“I am going directly to the voters because I don’t want to get bogged down in partisan gridlock as happened this year,” Brown said in the letter. “The stakes are too high.”

Read the full text of Brown’s statement below.

J.D. Morris is the university news editor.

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • Kenneth

    The campus Republicans could hold a cupcake sale to raise fund and further sully their image.

    The best things in life are free like self/party-destructive bake sales.

    • Stan De San Diego

      Given that liberals are completely screwed up in the head to begin with, anything that “sullies” one’s reputation in the mind of liberals can only be a positive thing.

    • Sheesh

      The best things in life are free like self/party-destructive attempts to trick voters into raising the sales tax while not doing anything about the problem of unfunded pension/medical liabilities for public worker unions.

  • Cuts hurt kids

    Brown should have done this originally when it was apparent that the Republicans would block the referendum! I’m glad he’s doing this now, although I definitely disagree with the statement in bullet point three that implies we can only afford education and public safety.

    Finally, I am sick and tired of one more person telling me that we need to cut spending – I don’t know where you’ve been the last thirty years, but spending has been cut again and again on public education. Since the financial meltdown and the Great Recession I’ve seen my tuition – which is also a tax – skyrocket due to spending cuts while countless other social services have been gutted. It is bad policy that state spending for the elderly and sick is at 1983 levels while the population of these groups is so much higher and will continue to increase as the Baby Boomers retire.

    I think Brown is doing what he thinks is politically feasible, but I wish he was bolder. We can tax oil and reform Prop 13 to eliminate loop holes for commercial land.

    • Anonymous

      Have you ever seen the huge list of boards and commissions in Cali all populated by high paid political cronies? USSR of Cali.

    • Google

      Spending on education has been cut.
      Spending on public employee pensions and health care has skyrocketed.

      Reforming Prop 13 would be great, but Brown needs to take on the Unions like he promised to do.

    • Anonymous

      You know why Brown didn’t try this referendum earlier?  Because it was already tried in the 2010 election and California voters overwhelmingly rejected new taxes.  I don’t like high tuition either but the answer is to reduce public employee pensions and not raise taxes.  Unfortunately the only way to force Democratic politicians to cut union pensions is to run out of money.  Yes poor kids, students, and the non-union elderly lose, but if we can’t get our economy going then everyone will lose.

  • Anonymous

    I want to see a firm commitment to the systems of higher education in California as well. I’m glad to see something especially for the youngest generations in the k-12 system but there is no reason to continue to burden today’s college graduates with so much debt. It really is ridiculous how much debt people incur, even those who are working while in school!

  • Anonymous

    Does Brown think millionaires are idiots who somehow got rich?  Income taxes are just part of the story.  Steve Jobs only received $1 in income each year because the bulk of his compensation was in stocks.  California’s millionaires can simply request that their salaries be cut to $500,000 to avoid the new taxes and they’ll get more company stock options in return.  They can also set up a permanent address in Nevada and then “vacation” in California.  Businesses making more than $500,000 a year may simply decide to move headquarters to other states or China to avoid the 2% surtax since 2% is a heavy penalty for simply being in California.   The 0.5% increase in sales tax is difficult to avoid, however, so low income families will be hit hard.  Besides, if 0.5% is not enough the Democrats will propose additional 0.5% annual increases because voters quickly forget half-percent sales tax increases from previous years. 

    And there’s no guarantee the money will ever be used for UC.  The title of the article says “Education”, but Brown’s letter actually says “education and public safety”.  You might believe only teachers and police officers will be hired, but all kinds of administrators, unionized clerks, lawyers and political appointees may reclassify themselves as education or public safety employees and share in that $7 billion bounty.  They will all want generous pensions too.  UC will be last in line as usual.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, let’s do nothing instead.

      • Stan De San Diego

        I know it’s hard for doctrinaire lefties to understand this, but there are other choices besides raising taxes. One is to CUT SPENDING, specifically to take a hard look at the current UC budget and come up with priorities. Calipenguin is right – not only will those who are targeted by this tax find a way to minimize the impact by changing their residence or compensation arrangements, but it’s quite clear that the emphasis on “public safety” in addition to education is an indication that the money is going to be used for bailing out pension funds instead of dealing with the root cause – the unsustainable pensions being promised to state workers. Sorry, but we figured out how you “progressives” work a long time ago.

        • Anonymous

          Another alternative is economic growth. Why are tens of thousands leaving Lib infested Cali and heading for Texas and other right to work states. Cal kiddies are supposed to be smart but theY keep voting for Libs. Cali is turning into a third world state full of illegals, druggies, welfare suckers and ex cons.

          Enjoy the ride Cal Kiddies.

      • How about asking some serious questions about where the billions are going now before raising taxes and driving more high wage earners out of state? For example, why are the politicians and bureaucrats pushing for tuition assistance for illegal aliens if we don’t have the funds for our own native citizens and legal residents? Why does Cal have separate departments complete with their own budget and staff for such esoterica as “Art History”? Why does the administration feel that money needs to spent to reach out to “transgendered” students? Why is the UC system spending millions in legal fees fighting Prop 209? Asking questions and demanding fiscal accountability isn’t “doing nothing”. Unfortunately, liberals and progressives aren’t interested in such critical examinations, because it’s not in concordance with their own political and social agenda.