Props 30 and 38: Still undecided?

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By Bruno Girin, Flickr

We’ve talked at length about propositions 30 and 38, which generate funding for California’s struggling schools. Both propositions will generate billions of dollars to benefit California’s struggling schools. At the same time, they both attempt to protect the middle class from new taxes. But they don’t have much else in common.

The differences are numerous and account for why this fight between Gov. Brown and Molly Munger (Prop 30 and 38’s main sponsors, respectively) has been so contentious.

Gov. Brown’s Prop 30 raises sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent for a period of four years. It also raises income taxes by significant margins for seven years, but only for the wealthiest Californians. You have to make at least $250,000 per to be hit with the seven year raise.

Molly Munger’s proposition, on the other hand, raises income taxes on all income brackets, excluding only the very lowest (under about $15,000), but does not include any change in sales tax. 

Munger joined Warren Olney on Which Way, LA? to defend her proposition explaining she’s put  more than $30 million of her own money into the proposition. You can listen to that, here:

Gov. Jerry Brown has a large stake in Prop 30. If Prop 30 passes, Gov. Brown won’t have to cut nearly $6 billion from the education fund. Opponents of Prop 30 have argued that the governor is using the $6 billion in trigger cuts as a threat to get his measure to pass – and what a threat it is. If Prop 30 fails, the cuts will go through with major consequences.  The school year will be shortened, CSUs and UCs will be forced to raise fees, and California might fall even further down on the list of per-pupil spending (we’re currently 47th in the US).

Despite the imminent threat of massive budget cuts, approval for Prop 30 dropped from 56 percent in July to 49 percent in OctoberSo far, $41 million has been raised to support Prop 30. The top supporter? The California Teacher’s Association, with donations totaling $7.7 million.

KCRW’s Darrell Satzman  reported on Prop. 30, exploring whether it’s a great hope or a $6 billion boondoggle. Listen to that below:

Prop 38 isn’t garnering much enthusiasm either. The latest poll from USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times shows opposition at 54 percent, with undecided voters at 14 percent. While Molly Munger has donated nearly $31 million to the “Yes on 38” cause, there have been no other donations over $1 million so far.

Here’s KCRW’s explainer on Prop. 38:

In the unlikely scenario that both propositions pass, the one with the most total “Yes” votes will go through. If only Prop 38 passes, the cuts built into the budget will go through anyway and public schools will have to wait until the tax increases take effect next year. And if neither measure passes, the trigger cuts will go through and California schools will be left with a giant hole in their budget with little hope of filling it.