Government Bytes


Californians Confront Billion Dollar Budget Issues Tomorrow

by Lee Schalk / /

In California, voters will face an extensive slate of ballot measures relating to fiscal policy, at every level, affecting everything from the statehouse to city hall. It’s no wonder that taxpayer advocacy groups in the state are accusing California’s elected officials of trying to feed their own out-of-control spending addictions.

Headlining the list are two tax increase proposals (by far the largest in the nation), both of which are designed to reduce the budget deficit, but could also negatively impact the state's economy and job growth. Major statewide initiatives are piled on top of at least 114 county and local tax hike proposals, and 121 local requests for new debt. Californians can use NTU’s 2012 Ballot Guide: The Taxpayer’s Perspective to sort out which items will affect them directly.

Here are the most significant propositions for California taxpayers according to NTU's 2012 Ballot Guide:

  • Under Governor Jerry Brown's tax proposal, Prop 30, just about all taxpayers would face a steeper tax bill. Three new personal income tax rates would be created for high earners, with rates as high as 13.3 percent in the top bracket. The state sales tax would increase from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent. The result of Prop 30 would be an annual tax hike of $6-9 billion.

  • Prop 32 would ban contributions by government contractors to politicians who control contracts rewarded to them, and ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and governments from employees' wages for political purposes. Unions are up in arms over this measure, claiming that it silences the voices of millions of workers. By contrast, supporters believe it severs ties between special interests and career politicians, thus giving power back to the people of California.

  • Prop 37 would require labeling food that has been genetically modified. Some local taxpayer groups oppose this measure because it would imposes additional onerous regulations on businesses and a disruption in commerce.

  • Prop 38 is Molly Munger's competing statewide tax increase that would result in an estimated $10 billion annual tax hike for 12 years.

  • Prop 39 would raise taxes on some California businesses with sales in multiple states. These businesses would no longer be able to choose between two methods to determine their California taxable income. Half of the tax revenue over the next 5 years would go toward energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. This would result in a $1 billion annual tax hike.

Visit our 2012 Ballot Guide page HERE to find your state’s complete slate of propositions, questions, amendments and more.