Our Sunday Best

How did Props. 30 and 38 end up on the same ballot?

By From page A18 | October 14, 2012

How did two competing statewide ballot measures, both intended to fund public education, end up on the same ballot?

Actually, three competing measures originally were headed for the Nov. 6 ballot:

* Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, with support from the California Teachers Association;

* A “Millionaire’s Tax” supported by the California Federation of Teachers and several other unions; and

* Proposition 38, advanced by Southern California lawyer/activist Molly Munger with support from the California State PTA.

Veteran political observers were skeptical about the success of any of the measures if they were all on the same ballot. Typically, when voters are confronted with what many find to be a confusing choice, they simply vote no on all of them.

With that in mind, Brown embarked on a charm initiative — and a bit of back-room arm-twisting — in an effort to combine the three ballot measures into one. He successfully worked out an agreement with the California Federation of Teachers, and several aspects of the “Millionaire’s Tax” were incorporated into what became Prop. 30.

But Brown had no luck with the California State PTA and Munger, who preferred the initiative they had drafted to the one the governor was promoting.

Prop. 38 supporters have raised $28 million to promote the measure, much of it coming from Munger herself, according to the organization Maplight, which tracks political spending. Opponents of Prop. 38 have raised a paltry $32,000.

Polls have shown likely voters to be, at best, evenly split on the Munger initiative.

Upwards of $41 million has been raised to promote Prop. 30, primarily from business groups and the California Teachers Association. Opponents have raised $3 million, according to Maplight. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has been active in the “No on 30″ campaign.

Jeff Hudson

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