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Education tax battle: California Props 30, 38 breakdown

November 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Propositions 30 and 38 are both education taxes, but the two measures have different details as well as backers.

Get information on where to vote, propositions and voter information for Election 2012

Both measures are asking you to pay more in taxes for education funding. On face value, the two look very similar, but the difference is, if Proposition 30 does not pass, public education in California could lose millions of dollars.

The Los Angeles Unified School District says that means possibly cutting the school year by three weeks this year, and community colleges and public universities would see fewer slots and tuition hikes.

Under Proposition 30, aggressively supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, the sales tax would go up by a quarter-cent on the dollar for four years. The measure would also raise the income tax on people who earn more than $250,000 for seven years.

In total, that would generate an extra $6 billion annually for public schools. If there is any additional tax revenue, that could be used to fund other state programs.

"It's been a very hard fought campaign, but I've been throughout the entire state, and I have a sense that people are ready to invest in their future, which is the kids, California and a balanced budget going forward," Brown said during a press conference.

But opponents still have hope that a tight race bodes well for them. They think Californians don't want to pay more in sales tax and increase the income tax on the wealthy.

"This money does not necessarily go to schools. It could be spent on anything the politicians want. At the end of the day, I don't think they're going to support it," said Aaron McLear of the "No on Prop 30" campaign.

Proposition 38, which is being bankrolled by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, would increase personal income tax rates for 12 years on a sliding scale. In turn, it would raise about $10 million for public schools.

If it passes, the revenue generated for the first four years would be split among public education and repaying the state debt. After that, 100 percent would go to public school programs.

Recent polls show that Proposition 30 is gaining support among voters, while Proposition 38 is losing support. If both measures pass, the measure with the most votes will prevail. There are 11 propositions on Tuesday's state ballot.

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