“Prop 30” is trending in the darkness before dawn after Election Day. The “temporary” $6 billion tax hike measure in California imposes massive increases in sales tax and personal income tax. The initiative’s main provisions via Ballotpedia:

  • Raises California’s sales tax to 7.5% from 7.25%, a 3.45% percentage increase over current law. (Under the Brown Tax Hike, the sales tax would have increased to 7.75%)
  • Creates four high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000. This increased tax will be in effect for 7 years.
  • Imposes a 10.3% tax rate on taxable income over $250,000 but less than $300,000–a percentage increase of 10.6% over current policy of 9.3%. The 10.3% income tax rate is currently only paid by taxpayers with over $1,000,000 in taxable income.
  • Imposes an 11.3% tax rate on taxable income over $300,000 but less than $500,000–a percentage increase of 21.5% over current policy of 9.3%.
  • Imposes a 12.3% tax rate on taxable income over $500,000 up to $1,000,000–a percentage increase of 32.26% over current policy of 9.3%.
  • Imposes a 13.3% tax rate on taxable income over $1,000,000–a percentage increase of 29.13% over current “millionaires tax” policy of 10.3%.
  • If this proposition is passed in November, 2012, the income tax will apply retroactively to all income earned or received since the first of the year (1 January, 2012).
  • Based on California Franchise Tax Board data for 2009, the additional income tax is imposed on the top 3% of California taxpayers.

Many short-sighted Californians are cheering the taxpayer bailout of public universities and colleges on the backs of wealthy income earners and middle-class consumers:

Via BizFed’s founder and chairman:

While Brown paints a rosy picture of Prop. 30 simply asking the wealthiest Californians to “pay a little bit more,” he conveniently excludes the part about the quarter-cent sales tax increase. To the wealthy, a sales tax increase may be little more than an inconvenience. But to California families struggling to make ends meet in an environment where unemployment is well above the national average and the economy is still weak, a sales tax increase means higher bills for groceries, clothes and other necessities.

Proponents would like voters to believe that this initiative prevents billions in cuts, but in reality, no cuts are required in the first place. There is no language in Prop. 30 that forces lawmakers to cut a single penny from education.

If Sacramento politicians were serious about California’s future, they would finish the job of pension reform and end abuses of the state’s environmental quality act, which kills jobs without protecting the environment. These stalled reform efforts would help the state get its fiscal house in order so education could be a priority without Sacramento asking voters for a tax-increase bailout.

A yes vote on Prop. 30 simply feeds Sacramento’s addiction to spending without reform and says it’s OK to use our schools, community colleges and universities as pawns. Voting no says we need to clean up Sacramento and end this cynical strategy that holds our children hostage to misguided priorities. Let’s put California back on track. Vote no on Prop. 30.

Ignorance is bliss. The California taxpayer’s life is hell.