Capitol Alert

California voters not yet jazzed about tax extensions, recreational marijuana

Commercial-style farms grow marijuana in July in mountainous timberland clearings of Humboldt County .
Commercial-style farms grow marijuana in July in mountainous timberland clearings of Humboldt County .

With Californians staring down the prospect of a crowded ballot next fall, a new poll finds that 61 percent of likely voters believe there are too many propositions.

At the same time, about the same percentage say they are satisfied with the way the initiative process is working, according to Public Policy Institute of California survey released late Tuesday.

PPIC asked about the importance of four ballot measures that all could go before voters. Some 55 percent of likely voters view a state bond measure to pay for school and community college facilities as very important, and 49 percent consider a statewide initiative raising the minimum wage as critical.

Less important are bids to extend Proposition 30 tax increases and legalize recreational marijuana, according to the poll. Just 37 percent of likely voters see renewing the tax hike as very important while 30 percent view legitimizing cannabis as crucial.

Well-funded ballot efforts are pursuing minimum wage increases while the latter two issues –increasing income taxes on higher earners and legalizing marijuana – are already attracting major institutional and individual supporters with millions of dollars to spend on campaigns.

PPIC did not ask likely voters how they planned to vote on the four possible measures, though its survey out in late September found nearly half of likely voters favored temporarily extending Proposition 30’s sales and income tax hikes.

For the latest survey, PPIC gauged support for various other issues, discovering:

▪ On income inequality, 67 percent say the state is divided into two economic groups, the “haves” and “have-nots.”

▪ As for which of the two groups they view themselves in, 40 percent say the haves and 44 percent identify with the have-nots.

▪ 54 percent favor extending health care coverage to unauthorized immigrants and 42 percent are opposed. But among likely voters, 42 percent are in favor and 55 percent are opposed.

▪ Most residents believe climate change is a very serious problem (57 percent), or a somewhat serious problem (23 percent). The finding comes as Gov. Jerry Brown leads a California delegation to the United Nations’ conference on climate change in Paris.

▪ 79 percent of Democrats say climate change is a very serious problem. Just 21 percent of Republicans agree.

▪ 27 percent identified water/drought as the most important issue facing the state, followed by jobs and the economy at 24 percent.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago