California voters soundly passed Proposition 30, 54 to 46 percent. Many considered it the biggest measure on this California ballot.
Gov. Jerry Brown crisscrossed the state in recent weeks making his pitch, supported by union leaders, teachers and others keen to avoid the “trigger cuts” that would have hit had Prop. 30 failed. But even before the final count was in, the governor was in a buoyant mood at the Yes on 30 election night party in downtown Sacramento.
Gov. Brown had a lot on the line with Prop 30. It imposes a temporary 1/4-cent sales tax and raises income taxes on the wealthy for seven years.
The failure of Prop. 30 would have triggered $6 billion in education cuts. And the governor staked his reputation on the measure, making it his top priority.
But last night as Prop. 30 was trending well, and exit polls looked promising, Brown was very optimistic.
“[This is] the only place in America where the state said, ‘let’s raise taxes for kids, for our schools, for our California dream,'” Brown said.
Brown took aim at Proposition 30’s opponents for what he called their doctrinaire thinking that government can’t do anything right.
And that was one of the major challenges of the Prop. 30 campaign. For the past five years the state has used education funding to balance the budget, and opponents say they don’t trust lawmakers to spend the money as promised.
Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers’ Association says he’s optimistic that voters understood Prop. 30 guarantees funding for schools, despite a well funded ‘no’ campaign.
“One of the things voters consistently have said is California is not for sale,” Vogel said. “We want to decide for ourselves what we’re going to do, and I believe they’re doing that tonight.”
The “No on Proposition 30″ campaign was outspent, but still well-funded. A large contribution from out-of-state groups came under scrutiny by state regulators who on Monday said the donation represents the largest case of campaign money laundering in state history.
Proposition 30 also faced a threat from a competing education funding measure, Proposition 38, funded by billionaire Molly Munger. That measure was soundly defeated.