Comparing two tax propositions

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webmaster | 10/08/12

Two tax initiatives on the November ballot are vying for voter support, for different reasons.

The one sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown, Proposition 30, would raise state income taxes on individuals earning $250,000 a year or more, and on couples earning $500,000 a year or more. It also would raise the state portion of the sales tax, now 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent. The governor says that tax increase is needed to help fill the state budget deficit. The governor’s tax-increase rates would rise with income, and would be retroactive to the first of the year.

Another tax increase, Proposition 38, sponsored primarily by Los Angeles attorney Molly Munger, would raise about $10 billion annually for schools through an increase in income taxes on almost all taxpayers. It would require that every school dollar go per pupil directly to public school sites. “These are new funds that supplement other school funding,” says a Web site promoting the proposition. “The Legislature is prohibited from using these funds to substitute for funds currently going to schools or for any other purpose.”

Several polls indicate the governor’s proposition might have a chance at passage, because the income tax part of it wouldn’t fall on average citizens. But the sales tax part would, and that is something of which people who don’t want to pay taxes should beware.

The Munger proposition would treat most taxpayers equally, and would restrict the use of the tax money to schools. It also puts a 12-year limit on the taxes.

If both the propositions fail, some immediate state budget adjustments will take hold, to balance the budget by cuts instead of new revenues.

If both of them pass, nobody is sure what would happen. They will wind up in court, for certain.


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