For Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been trying to raise taxes almost since taking office last year, Proposition 30 is a major test of his political abilities. After failing last year to persuade Republican lawmakers to put higher taxes on a ballot, the Democratic governor made the initiative his signature effort this year.
The measure would raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, propping up the state budget and preventing about $5.4 billion in cuts to school and community colleges if approved.
Brown has fought to focus attention on the initiative's implications for schools, but critics have seized on a state parks scandal, legislative pay raises and California's $68 billion high-speed rail project to argue state government mismanages public money and should be given no more.
WHAT IT DOES
Raises the statewide sales tax rate by a quarter percentage point for four years and impose income tax increases for seven years on Californians earning more than $250,000 a year.
Prevents about $5.4 billion in cuts to schools and community colleges included in the state budget should the initiative fail.
Guarantees tax revenue to local governments to fund public safety responsibilities shifted to them from the state last year.
WHAT IT COSTS
According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, the measure would increase state tax revenues by about $6 billion annually over the next few years.
Revenue from increased taxes would be available to increase school funding and to help balance the state budget.
Gov. Jerry Brown
Public employee unions
California Democratic Party
WHAT SUPPORTERS SAY
State services have been cut by billions of dollars in recent years, damaging schools.
It is fair for California's highest income earners to temporarily pay higher income taxes to prevent deeper cuts to schools and to help balance the budget.
Proposition 30 is necessary to prevent a shortened school year this year and to provide money that could be used in future years for smaller class sizes and rehiring teachers, among other services.
Labor unions, oil companies, Indian tribes and other business interests have provided the majority of the more than $39 million raised by Brown and other supporters of Proposition 30.
ON THE WEB
Yes on 30: YesonProp30.com
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Other anti-tax groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Small Business Action Committee
California Republican Party
WHAT OPPONENTS SAY
State politicians waste taxpayer money and cannot be trusted with additional revenue
Proposition 30 does not include reforms to school spending or public pensions, and higher taxes will hurt businesses and kill jobs.
Revenue used to balance the state budget may be used for any number of programs other than schools.
A committee formed to oppose Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32 has raised more than $36 million, including contributions from GOP donor Charles Munger Jr. and an Arizona-based nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership. That committee has provided the majority of the more than $10 million raised by a separate committee set up specifically to oppose Proposition 30.
ON THE WEB
No on 30: StopProp30.com