Governor, philanthropist ask CSBA to back competing tax initiatives
Seeking support for his proposed ballot initiative that he contends would raise up to $6.9 billion to benefit schools, Gov. Jerry Brown invited CSBA President Jill Wynns and the rest of the Executive Committee to his office Jan. 20 to hear their concerns about the proposal.
The governor’s tax initiative would increase the personal income tax on the state’s wealthiest taxpayers and boost sales taxes by one-half percent for five years, with K-14 schools to receive about $2.5 billion of the proceeds.
Overall, Wynns said she was encouraged by the private discussion.
Molly Munger, a wealthy Los Angeles civil rights attorney who co-founded the Advancement Project and is on the board of Children Now and the Irvine Foundation, is promoting another tax measure that supporters contend would raise $10 billion for schools and preschool programs.
Munger described the measure in detail to members of CSBA’s Board of Directors, who met in Sacramento Jan. 21-22, and said she would welcome a CSBA endorsement. The board discussed the measure at length with Munger but did not take a position on the proposal.
Munger’s proposal, which authors have titled the “Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act,” would raise income taxes on a graduated basis—taxing the state’s wealthiest residents at a higher rate than middle-class and poor Californians. The tax increases would expire in 12 years.
“It’s very even-handed,” said Munger. “We wanted schools to have this money forever, but the public is very skeptical of any permanent tax increase.”
She said she is convinced that voters are aware of and concerned about recent cuts to schools and are willing to pay to restore some vital educational services.
With the support of the PTA and other influential children’s and educational groups like Preschool California, Munger said she is confident her measure is a winner. It’s possible, she added, that some groups will endorse both her measure and the governor’s, but work harder for one.
CSBA has not endorsed either measure but may take a position by March.