With California’s Proposition 30 income tax hikes expiring in 2018, a coalition of education and other groups on Monday filed an initiative for next year’s ballot to temporarily extend those taxes on some of the wealthiest residents.
Whether California would move to keep the tax hikes on the books has been a recurring topic of debate during budget talks at the Capitol. Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, called for an extension of Proposition 30 as early as January 2014.
But Gov. Jerry Brown, who championed Proposition 30 as temporary, has repeatedly stressed that the sales and income tax measure should remain so. The initiative was approved by state voters in 2012.
The new “School Funding and Budget Stability Act” would boost income tax rates on couples earning more than $500,000 a year for 12 years, with the proceeds deposited into an account to support K-12 schools and colleges. The quarter-cent sales tax increase would not be touched, and expire as planned in 2016.
“Temporarily extending these critical revenues will help keep our state budget balanced, and prevent devastating cuts to programs affecting students, seniors, working families and health care,” the Democratic strategist who is leading the effort, Gale Kaufman, said in a prepared statement.
The proposed tax increase would generate an estimated $7 billion to $9 billion a year, and run though 2030. The group filing the measure includes the California Teachers Association, other education labor groups, and health care and police unions.
It’s unclear whether it will be the only Proposition 30 extension aiming for the 2016 ballot, as another coalition of union and health care groups has indicated an early interest in pursuing a tax hike of its own.