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Proposition 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initative

Oct 18, 2012

Californians will soon decide whether they want to increase taxes to support public schools. Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 38.

If you watch TV in California, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’ve aired in every major market.

Prop 38 would raise about 10 billion dollars a year for K-12 schools starting in 2013, by taxing all but the poorest Californians. Behind the TV ads and Proposition 38 is wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

“Prop 38 is going to bring back all the things that we’ve lost, we’re now 47th in the country in per pupil spending, it’s a hall of shame that we really shouldn’t be living in as Californians.”

Prop 38 tax increases would last 12 years and be applied on a sliding scale. Munger says the wealthy would pay more.

“People making less than $50,000, between $25,000 and $50,000, it’s $54 a year, and most Californians make less than $50,000 so for most of our people it’s a very minor amount of money.”

Anti-tax groups oppose Proposition 38, as do most of the supporters of the other big tax measure on the ballot, Proposition 30. Proposition 38 guarantees that tax money goes to schools, not to the state’s general fund. And that concerns Lisa Folberg, with the California Medical Association.

“If we had endless revenue, yes let’s absolutely spend more money on education, and we hope that will happen through Prop 30 as well, but what we don’t want to do is lock that in without consideration of any other budget funding priority.”

Folberg says it makes no sense to spend money on children’s classrooms if kids have nothing to eat. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure, saying it would hurt small businesses that pay individual rather than corporate taxes.