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Millionaires’ tax to be filed in California

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, December 1st, 2011 at 5:02 pm in ballot measures, taxes.

The progressive Courage Campaign announced it will file a millionaires’ tax initiative.

As the organization describes the measure, it would seek voter approval of a  tax hike on people who earn more than $1 million a year and use the estimated $6 billion to restore cuts to education, public safety and roads.

This ought to be interesting.

Here’s the campaign’s news release:

Broad Coalition to File “Millionaires’ Tax” to Fund Education, Senior Services, Public Safety

“California Funding Restoration Act” Would Increase Personal Income Taxes On Those Who Make $1 Million or More

Los Angeles – A broad coalition of educators, unions and community groups announced today it is filing a ballot initiative to restore critical funding to schools and universities, essential services for seniors, and public safety, as well as start rebuilding the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. It asks the wealthiest Californians — people who earn over a million dollars per year — to help pay to rebuild the state.

The “California Funding Restoration Act” would increase personal income taxes only on those who make $1 million or more annually to restore funding to services that make California communities stronger and safer, and ensure seniors receive the care they deserve.

“This is the only initiative proposal that would restore funding devastated by the recession, and rehire thousands of teachers, senior care providers and public safety personnel, without affecting the wallets of working families and the middle class,” said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the 750,000 strong Courage Campaign. “It addresses the heart of the problem:  that total income share to the state’s richest 1% has doubled over the last twenty years, while their tax rates have fallen.”

The coalition tested various tax approaches in opinion research with likely voters. No other type of proposal came close to the strength of voter opinion in favor of the idea that the richest Californians should pay their fair share to restore funding for schools and services.

“As a teacher and parent, I have seen the terrible impact of state budget cuts on our schools through teacher layoffs and larger class sizes,” says Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “It is time for the wealthiest Californians to pay their fair share to restore funding for education and essential services.”

The Restoring California coalition estimates that the initiative, under discussion since last March, will restore $6 billion in funds for K-12 as well as higher education. It would help people like Jazmin Casa, an East Los Angeles Community College student, who lost her job caring for seniors because of the state budget cuts. says, “Now, I’m fighting to keep my home,” said Casa, an active member of the organization, California Calls.

“Extensive recent public and private polling show that California voters strongly support a progressive approach of raising taxes on the rich to fund education and other essential services that have been cut in recent years,” said pollster Ben Tulchin.

The coalition includes:

California Calls
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
California Partnership
Inner City Struggle
Equality Alliance
Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Courage Campaign
Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education
Delores Huerta Foundation
Knotts Family and Parenting Institute
Communities for a New California
Oakland Rising
Causa Justa/ Just Cause
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
CAUSE
Working Partnerships USA
Poder Popular
Warehouse Workers United
Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement
Mobilize the Immigrant Vote
PICO
University of California Student Association
California Federation of Teachers

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  • Elwood

    In Congressman George Miller’s (36 year incumbent) op-ed piece in the CC Times the other day Georgie Porgie used the phrase “millionaires and billionaires” (as in soak the rich) four (4)times.

    It’s always good to see our beloved 36 year congressman come up with new thinking!

    Plan on hearing that dimmiecrat talking point ad nauseum between now and November.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    As Woody Guthrie humorously noted back in the Depression era, “Ain’t no use me workin’ so hard, I got a woman in the rich folks’ yard/ when they kill a chicken, she sends me the head/ she thinks I’m a workin’ I’m a layin’ in bed.”‘

  • Truthclubber

    This will NOT pass.

    The voters (especially the DTSs) of this state know that the two words that need to be used LOUD and CLEAR in Sacramento, and have NOT been used enough, are:

    CUT. SPENDING.

  • John W

    As a Democrat, I’m sick of all the noise about taxing millionaires and billionaires — state or federal. There’s not enough money there to fix the revenue side of our fiscal woes. Just let the Bush cuts expire for everybody. We did great under the old rates. If we get rid of the tax expenditures, we can ratchet down the marginal rates a bit but shouldn’t do so until we see the deficit getting under control. I’m also against extending doubling down the SS payroll tax holiday.

  • For Liberty

    This is their attempt at job creation, which in the long run will force the millionaires out of the state or possibly encourage them to declare residency outside of CA.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Raise the Federal and CA gasoline tax!

  • Rick K.

    The 3% at 50 pension scheme needs to be curtailed before voters approve any new taxes. It’s obscene that government workers can retire at age 50 with 90% of the salary. Many rank-and-file government workers are getting pensions of $100,000+ per year for the rest of their lives. Why should the average Californian, who retires on Social Security and a meager 401(k), pay higher taxes so that prison guards can retire to lives of luxury?

  • Raul

    I have to agree with Rick K, these $100,000 pensions for public sector workers have got to go – and I’m a Democrat. We’ve got people up and down the state working two or three part time jobs – just knocking themselves out working 60 hours a week to even make $40,000 – and here we have these 50 year old retired Police Chiefs or Fireman making $100,000 a year for life – plus free health care. When you retire you are supposed to make less, you need less, your kids are grown, you don’t have to commute to work anymore, you sell the big house, move to smaller place, I mean that was the normal pattern with retirement – and you didn’t retire until you were in your 60′s. But now we have this public sector gravy train thing going on with these massive retirement packages going to people in early 50′s – Dan Borenstein keeps writing about it, it’s just unbelievable. I’ve got know problem with reasonable public sector pensions, 3,000 or 4,000 a month – that’s a figure voters can live with, but these six figure pensions have got to go.

  • John W

    Re: #8

    The typical union rebuttal about public employee pensions is (a) average pensions are only about $2,000 per month; (b)”race to the bottom” argument: the private sector should be upgrading retirement benefits to public sector standards, not the other way around; and (c) we shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of middle class public servants.

    The “average” they throw around includes all kinds of statistical garbage, including for numbers for people who were on the public payroll for far less time than required to earn full benefits. According to Dan Borenstein, the average state employee pension for somebody qualifying for full benefits was in the $65-70k range.

    As for the “race to the bottom,” traditional defined benefit pensions in the private sector were never anything remotely like public sector pensions, even in the “golden age” of pensions in the 60′s and 70′s. An ideal retirement was considered to be a three-legged stool of pension, Social Security and savings — enough to start retirement with about 80% of pre-retirement income. A good pension was typically about half of the 80%, replacing 40-50% of pre-retirement income, with no cost of living adjustments, and not starting until you were in your sixties.