Jerry Brown's tax-initiative rivals dismiss governor's concerns
Proponents of two efforts to place tax initiatives on the November ballot to fund education were dismissive Monday of concerns voiced by the head of a third effort -- Gov. Jerry Brown -- that a proliferation of initiatives could turn off voters.
Brown has warned backers of a millionaire's tax and an effort led by civil rights attorney Molly Munger that they may end up convincing voters to reject any tax increase in November. But Munger, who was in Sacramento to tout her initiative to the state PTA association, said internal polling shows that voters would pass both plans.
"I don't think we'd have a very good, functioning democracy if we just did what one person at the top wanted," Munger told reporters. "We think the governor doesn't have as good an idea this year as we do."
Munger added that she believes, should both measures pass, the fee hikes in her initiative -- an across-the-board income tax increase for most Californians that would raise $10 billion -- would supersede Brown's proposed half-cent sales tax and higher levies on high earners.
Munger said that, if necessary, she would personally fund the $4 million-$5 million push to gather enough signatures to place her proposal on the November ballot.
In a call with reporters, proponents of a millionaire's tax also vowed to place their measure on the ballot.
Anthony Thigpenn of the grass-roots group California Calls rejected comments by Brown and others that multiple tax measures on the same ballot could confuse voters and hurt all of the initiatives’ chances. He said he welcomed the governor’s proposal along with Munger’s initiative.
“We are delighted that there is an environment now in 2012 where voters are willing to consider additional revenue,” Thigpenn said. “It’s a positive sign that there are multiple efforts to address the budget crisis.”
--Nicholas Riccardi and Anthony York in Sacramento
Photo: Students at Kingsley Elementary School in Hollywood, one of many campuses that several tax proposals aiming for the November ballot contend they would help. Photo Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times