Politics

Survey shows support lacking for Prop 30

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Prop 30 would hike the sales tax by a quarter of a cent and impose an income tax increase of up to 2 per cent on the state's highest wage earners, earning from 250 thousand to a million dollars a year.

The money raised would go to schools, and to public safety.

It's billed as a temporary tax hike, lasting 7 years. But it's not catching on with the voters.

Prop 30 is being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown as the best way to keep the state afloat.

If voters approve the money generated, from 6 to 9 billion would backfill the state budget shortage, allowing money to go to schools, and to public safety.

Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell says schools really need the money.

"If the tax initiative doesn't pass we are going to be stuck with what I consider the worst of the evils. I hate taxes and new taxes right now, but at the same time can we sacrifice a whole generation of kids."

Powell predicts without the revenue from Prop 30 many districts will have to cut their school year from 180 to 160 days.

"That's 20 more days that parents are going to have to decide how to take care of their kids."

But, despite the dire warnings support for Prop 30 is lagging, especially here.

The latest Survey USA poll for Action News shows in the Central Valley only 32% say they will vote yes, 43 per cent will vote no and 27 per cent are uncertain.

Chris Mathys of the Valley Taxpayers Coalition says now is not the time for higher taxes.

"We're opposed to it for two reasons. One the tax base is already there to support schools and public safety, two, its just another deterrent for people who want to do business in California and stay in California," Mathys said.

Fresno Unified is hoping to use 17 million dollars of Prop 30 funds to expand early childhood education programs. But if voters don't approve, more cuts are coming. Deputy Superintendent Ruth Quinto said: "So, if Proposition 30 does not pass we do have eleven and a half million dollars that we will need to plan for further budget reductions starting in Fiscal Year 2013-14."

Again, the figures show Prop 30 is struggling.

The breakdown shows only 21 percent of Republicans support it. 53 per cent oppose.

While 46 per cent of Democrats say they'll vote yes and only 23% say no, a third more are undecided.

26 percent of independent voter say they will vote yes, 41 per cent say no, and 32 per cent don't know.

So the tax measure is behind, but statewide the numbers are close, and the large number of undecided will make the difference, for school districts all over the state.

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Tags:
jerry brown, budget cuts, politics, gene haagenson
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