Gov. Jerry Brown announces newly revised tax initiative

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After negotiations with the Restoring California Coalition, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that has rewritten his tax initiative in an effort to clear out competing initiatives from the upcoming November ballot.

The new version would increase the proposed tax on Californians in the highest annual income bracket — $500,000 for singles and $1 million for couples — by 3 percentage points instead of 2 points as Brown had previously proposed. The new version would also only increase state sales tax by a quarter of a percentage instead of a half a percentage point.

Brown called the markedly more progressive tax plan “a winning strategy” on Wednesday. The coalition consists of the California Federation of Teachers, California Calls, the Courage Campaign and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

The new initiative is a combination of Brown’s original plan and a competing initiative called “The Millionaires Tax,” which included no sales tax increase and a two tiered increase on California’s millionaires.

“All the polling shows that a more progressive tax approach is more likely to pass with progressive voters,” said California Federation of Teachers spokesperson Fred Glass.

For the past few months, Brown’s own initiative has seen diminishing support, partly because voters have been split among various competing initiatives. If voters reject Brown’s initiative, he has said the UC and CSU will each suffer $200 million in cuts.

A March 7 poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California found that just 52 percent of likely voters supported the original initiative — a slim majority.

Now, the agreement between Brown and the coalition may give Brown the support he needs to get his plan passed come November.

But the relatively late timing of the changes places incredible pressure on Brown to get his initiative on the upcoming ballot.

Once the new version of the initiative is filed, the Legislative Analyst’s Office has 45 days to provide fiscal analysis to Attorney General Kamala Harris, who will then decide the text of the petition.

Campaigners will then have until early May to submit more than 1 million signatures in order to put the initiative on the November ballot.

Curan Mehra covers higher education.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Gov. Jerry Brown’s quotation referring to the revised tax plan as “a winning strategy” was made when Brown was at a Capitol press conference. In fact, Brown said it at a Boeing facility in Southern California.

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    The only way out of this downward spiral is to provide more funding for the state’s general fund.  An improving economy will help, although it will take many years to get all the revenue back.  In the meantime, it is imperative that California voters pass Governor Brown’s temporary revenue initiative that will appear on the November ballot.  The measure would increase state revenue by as much as $9 billion per year through a small increase in the state sales tax (1/4 percent) and increases in income tax rates for incomes over $250,000.  The sales tax increase rates would expire in 4 years and the income tax provision would last 7 years.  We all need to band together and do our share as responsible citizens in the State of California.ANYA ARTAN

  • Calipenguin

    If there’s one thing millionaires know how to do, it’s protect their money.  They can simply establish a new residential address in a Reno apartment, claim their Blackhawk mansion as a vacation home, and avoid the silly tax.  This new tax will not generate much revenue from individual millionaires, but it will discourage small businesses from investing in California.  If this initiative passes then local governments will heave a huge sigh of relief and start promising money to the public unions before a penny is collected.

  • Guest

    My Dad makes close to $500,000 and when he retires in 5-10 years he will be relocating to Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side. Deal with it California

  • Want to know what the REAL tax revenue problem is in the state of California?

    California’s rising standards of living and outstanding public
    schools and universities once attracted millions seeking upward economic
    mobility. But then something went radically wrong as California
    legislatures and governors built a welfare state on high tax rates,
    liberal entitlement benefits, and excessive regulation. The results,
    though predictable, are nonetheless striking. From the mid-1980s to
    2005, California’s population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid
    recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose
    by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.

    California’s economy, which used to outperform the rest of the
    country, now substantially underperforms. The unemployment rate, at
    10.9%, is higher than every other state except Nevada and Rhode Island.
    With 12% of America’s population, California has one third of the
    nation’s welfare recipients.

    So here you have it: one half of the population doesn’t even pay state income taxes, yet can vote themselves more and more bennies at the expense of those of us who do pay. Recipe for financial disaster…

  • libsrclowns

    SACTO Libs led by Moonbeam Put Cali deeper into the sheeter….

    State Controller John Chaing continues to uphold the California Great Seal Motto of “Eureka”, i.e., ‘I have found it’. But what Chaing is finding as Controller is that California’s economy as measured by tax revenues is still tanking. Compared to last year, State tax collections for February shriveled by $1.2 billion or 22%. The deterioration is more than double the shocking $535 million reported decline for last month. The cumulative fiscal year decline is $6.1 billion or down 11% versus this period in 2011.

    While California Governor Brown promises strong economic growth is just around the corner, Chaing proves that the best way for Sacramento politicians to hurt the economy and thereby generate lower tax revenue, is to have the highest tax rates in the nation.

    California politicians seem delusional in their continued delusion that high taxes have not savaged the State’s economy. Each month’s disappointment is written off as due to some one-time event.

    Lesson for Cal Kiddies:  Vote SACTO Libs out and save UC. Vote HELL NO on taes

  • Current student

    Vote NO on all tax increases as long as Diane Leite is still employed at UC Berkeley.