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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California


Governor Brown's Tax-Hike Finds Broad Support

Brown's tax-the-rich, fuel-the-schools pitch pleases Californians, according to poll.

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found a strong majority supports Governor Jerry Brown's tax-hike proposal in order to address California's $9.2 billion budget deficit.

The survey published Sunday discovered that 64 percent of polled voters said they support the governor's measure to increase sales tax and raise levies on upper incomes to help fund schools and balance the state's budget. Governor Brown hopes that this measure will be placed on the November ballot. 

Part of the Governor's plan includes a quarter cent sales tax increase for four years. Governor Brown also plans to create a graduated surcharge on incomes of more than $250,000 for seven years.

High earners making over $250,000 would be taxed an extra one percent, over $300,000 would be taxed an extra two percent, and individuals making more than $500,000 would be taxed an extra three percent.

The proposal would lean less on sales taxes of California consumers and more on taxing high earners.The poll results show that voters support this idea 2 to 1. 

Governor Brown amended his tax proposal just last week after reaching a compromise with the California Federation of Teachers. His new tax proposal is a hybrid between his ideas and those of the teacher's union. In exchange for the compromise, the union agreed to drop its rival proposal which would have increased levies exclusively on incomes of millionaires.

Still, some findings carry warning signs for Brown's campaign. The poll found that that the teacher union's plan remains more popular than Brown's. Also, less than half of those polled disagree with the way California's books should be balanced.

They believe that the state's taxes are too high and the estimated $9 billion budget gap should be closed with cuts in government services instead of a combination of cuts and tax hikes.

Among those polled, the governor's initiative is split along party boundaries.

Eighty percent of Democrats approved it while only 38 percent of Republicans gave their support. Plus, three-quarters of independents were satisified with Brown's proposal. Brown will need the indpendents, a party that makes up a growing part of the state, to pass his measure.

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll also measured support for two initatives on the June ballot.

The first is Proposition 29, a tax hike of $1 per pack of cigarettes. This is estimated to raise $850 million annually for cancer research. The second is a proposal to change the state's term limits law.

Sixty-eight percent of polled voters said they favored the tobacco tax.

Overall, the survey has a margin of error at 2.9 percentage points and surveyed 1.500 registered voters between March 14 and 19. 


Brown is blackmailing Californians. Why does Brown always pick-on the most vulnerable and education? He should close commercial and corporate tax loopholes, introduce an oil extraction tax, an oil corporation, windfall-profits tax, Chevron of San Ramon made $27 billions in 2011 and paid no federal tax, and trim the bond interest paid to Wall Street. These taxes have to be rolled-back. These budget cuts will prolong the recession.

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