Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and the Restoring California Coalition (the California Federation of Teachers, California Calls, the Courage Campaign and ACCE) joined forces on a new revenue initiative for the November 2012 ballot.
The new initiative integrates the Governor's original initiative with the Millionaires Tax Initiative. The new merged initiative is designed to balance the state budget, prevent further cuts to education, provide a progressive tax structure and provide constitutional protections of public safety realignment funding, with the following adjustments:
* Lowers the proposed sales tax increase from ½ cent to ¼ cent.
* Adjusts the top two upper income brackets from a 1.5% increase to a 2% increase for incomes over $600,000 for joint filers and from 2% to 3% for incomes over $1 million for joint filers. (The bracket for incomes over $500,000 for joint filers remains at a 1% increase).
* The income tax increases will be in place for an additional 2 years, through 2018, while the sales tax increase will still sunset after 2016.
"This united effort makes victory more likely and will go a long way toward balancing our budget and protecting our schools, universities and public safety," said Governor Brown.
"Our coalition welcomes the opportunity to join Governor Brown, Senate pro Tem Steinberg, Speaker Pérez and their allies in crafting this win-win measure," said Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers and a co-chair of the Millionaire Tax Campaign. "Our values and principles are clearly reflected in this new initiative that now includes a 50% decrease in the sales tax rate, reduces the burden on working families and ensures a greater contribution from the 1%. These changes will generate an additional $2 billion in vital funding for the next fiscal year, and we are determined to ensure those funds benefit the communities that have been hit hardest by budget cuts and our cash-strapped higher education institutions."
"This responsible agreement will ask less of those who were hit hardest in the recession while ensuring that those who have profited the most contribute a larger share," said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. "By reinvesting in our public schools and California's colleges and universities, I am confident that this proposal aligns with the values and priorities of the vast majority of Californians. This is a major step forward as we work together to put California on the right track while eliminating our structural deficit."
"Consensus speaks volumes when asking taxpayers for the resources to reinvest in education, higher education, public safety, and other vital services that keep people healthy and our economy strong," said Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. "Californians recognize that we have cut far too much and demand better. Working together we can end our chronic deficits and put our state and the families that live here on the path to economic security."