Analyst Sees $2 Billion Less In Brown Tax 2.0

March 16, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Taxes, The Governor · Comments Off 

Governor Jerry Brown is no doubt happy that his modified tax increase initiative has already received its fiscal vetting, less than 48 hours after being formally introduced.

But that vetting doesn't settle on an estimate of how much tax revenue the new initiative will bring in, thus repeating an ongoing disagreement between forecasters that could create some tough politics over how this year's state budget should be crafted.
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Tax Initiative Deal Struck, Gathering Signatures Will Be Pricey

March 14, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Elections, Taxes · 3 Comments 

2:00 p.m. UPDATE: Governor Brown confirmed to reporters in southern California this afternoon that a deal has, in fact, been reached on a November tax initiative. As such, this posting includes updated information and has a slightly tweaked headline from its original form.

Is there time for a compromise tax initiative? (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)

By all indications, there's now a détente in the works that would head off the otherwise expected November ballot clash between Governor Jerry Brown and liberal activists over a tax increase.

Multiple sources confirm a compromise is being crafted that would adhere in some ways to Brown's existing initiative -- mainly, by still including a small sales tax increase -- but would boost the income tax increase on the wealthy above where the governor has proposed, while still making all of the taxes temporary.
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Brown's Tax Is Ahead, But Why Not By More?

March 7, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Taxes, The Governor · 20 Comments 

52% in the new poll support Gov. Brown's tax plan. (Photo: Getty/Justin Sullivan)

A brand new statewide poll shows Governor Jerry Brown's temporary tax increase initiative slightly ahead with voters. And that's no doubt a good thing if you're the governor.

But a more interesting question, it seems, is why isn't it ahead by more?
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Simple Tax Initiatives, Not So Simple Impacts

February 23, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Taxes · 4 Comments 

A tax increase that could spark new cuts?

"We have a message that is pretty simple and pretty powerful," Molly Munger told a group of political reporters after a recent appearance in Sacramento promoting her education tax initiative.

Similar words have also been used by backers of another proposal, one to hike income taxes on millionaires.

And yet, both measures would add new layers onto an already complex system that governs state tax revenues, while possibly -- and, perhaps, surprisingly to voters -- adding as much as $2 billion to the state's projected deficit.

When it comes to taxes and budgeting, nothing is simple.
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Dems Day 2: Brown Passes on Tax Pitch

Brown skips any tax initiative pitch. (Photo: John Myers/KQED)

SAN DIEGO -- Well, so much for the notion that Governor Jerry Brown would use his big speech at the California Democratic Party convention to pitch his November tax increase initiative.

In a speech running a little more than 11 minutes, and after volunteers handed out glossy signs that proclaimed, "Stand With Jerry," the governor told the party faithful to stand down… for now… on the tax issue.

"You'll get your marching orders soon enough," said Brown in a muted comment about the proposal.
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Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate

February 8, 2012 · Filed Under CA Budget, Education, Taxes · 2 Comments 

Erasing a 2009' corporate tax break has been a target of Democrats for years. (Photo: KQED/John Myers)

For the last several years, Democrats have been relentless at trying to undo a hotly debated tax incentive for large corporations that was signed into law as part of the 2009 deal. And now they're launching another shot.

The 2012 edition of "Cancel That Corporate Tax Break" at the state Capitol kicks off with a novel, and perhaps politically powerful, proposal from Assembly Speaker John Perez: use the resulting $1 billion in extra tax revenue to dramatically downsize the cost of a college education for middle-class families.
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Brown Appears Unsuccessful at Blocking Other Tax Measures

February 6, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Taxes, The Governor · 4 Comments 

Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative may not be the only one on the ballot. (Photo: Getty/Justin Sullivan)

Somewhere out there is a crystal ball that can tell us whether multiple tax increase initiatives on the November ballot means voters will reject all of them en masse.

But until that clairvoyant device shows up, we're left to wonder about the answer. And for Governor Jerry Brown, there's not much success these days in convincing others that it's a recipe for disaster.
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Budget Dreams and Dangers of Facebook's IPO

February 2, 2012 · Filed Under CA Budget, Taxes · 1 Comment 

The smart estimate: an eventual budget bump of a "few hundred million dollars." (Photo: Getty/Ryan Anson)

In the world of state budget writing, the past is often prologue. And that's why news of a tech company's dazzling initial public offering is nothing new in Sacramento, and why there's both hope... and caution.

And the bottom line: the eventual capital gains from the 2012 Facebook IPO will no doubt help balance the state's books. But the smart bet is that it won't be enough to stave off the vast majority of the tough choices that lie ahead.
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If Not For Schools, Would Brown's Tax Hike Be A Dud?

January 24, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Education, Taxes, The Governor · 5 Comments 

A new survey finds voters disapprove of more education cuts. Is that driving support for Brown's tax hike?

Governor Jerry Brown will no doubt love the headline out of the brand new statewide public poll: 68% of likely voters say they support his November initiative to raise taxes and earmark the money for public schools.

But dig deeper into the poll and it's pretty clear that were it not for the linkage to schools, the Brown proposal would either be less popular... or fail to break the 50-percent barrier altogether.
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Brown's Early Tax Initiative Donors: Hospitals, Oil, Tribes

January 23, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Elections, Money In Politics, Taxes · 1 Comment 

Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative campaign reports more than $1.45 million in contributions. (Photo:Getty/Justin Sullivan)

Governor Jerry Brown looks to be off to a strong start in collecting cash for his November tax initiative, with cash coming from some of the same groups his predecessor argued were the problem in California politics.

Campaign finance records show as of this weekend, Brown had reported more than $1.45 million in contributions. Those dollars were raised in the first month of the governor's efforts, and will no doubt help pay for signature gathering now that his tax increase initiative has hit the streets.
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