Alternate tax-hike initiatives compete with Gov. Brown's plan


Brown has been successful at getting one group to stand down on taxes, but it looks like two other groups are moving full-steam ahead.

The California Federation of Teachers and the Courage Campaign hit the streets statewide, gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that raises the income tax on the wealthiest residents.

The extra money is mostly for public schools, but would help restore some of the recent budget cuts to higher education and social programs.

Supporters say they will not back down even though it'll compete with Governor Brown's tax plan.

"We're moving forward. We think we have momentum on our side. We think ours is what's right for California," said Dean Murakami, California Federation of Teachers. "So we're not going to stop. We think that ours has the best chance of passing."

Wealthy Los Angeles attorney Molly Munger rallied her biggest supporters at a state PTA conference to begin a separate signature drive. Her tax initiative called the Our Children Our Future Act, which raises income tax on the a sliding scale, would help fund only public schools and specifically ensures kids get a complete education by bringing back things that parents want, like art classes and counselors.

"We think the governor doesn't have as good an idea this year as we do," said Munger. "And that's part of democracy, is to put that out in the marketplace of ideas and let the voters decide."

Brown's tax initiative would raise taxes on high-wage earners and increase the sales tax by a half-percent. He has warned that too many similar-sounding tax measures could confuse voters and jeopardize success.

One legislative leader urges outside groups to give up their quest.

"'Tie base goes to the runner.' All things being equal, I think you give deference to the elected governor of the state of California," said Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

If somehow all three groups raise enough money and gather enough signatures to get on the November ballot, the Secretary of State's office says the one with the most votes goes into effect. But of course, all three could also lose.

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