Jerry Brown’s tax plan has ample backing, poll finds

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Nearly two-thirds of Californians support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to temporarily raise sales taxes and levies on the wealthy to finance education, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey found that 65% back the plan, with even stronger support among Democrats, Latinos and voters between the ages of 18 and 54. It is the first measurement of the public appetite for Brown’s long-awaited plan, which the governor released in a low-key manner last week.


Brown and union allies will gather signatures to place the five-year tax increase — a combined half-cent sales tax and a series of higher rates on individual filers reporting $250,000 or more a year — on the November 2012 ballot. They also must contend with a host of other tax hike proposals that political professionals warn could lead overwhelmed voters to reject any attempt to hike fees.

Voters have not approved a statewide tax hike since 2004.

‘The governor’s plan includes some of the most popular ideas for raising taxes — higher taxes on the wealthy and more money for schools,’ said Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute president and chief executive. ‘At the same time, the major challenges in asking Californians to pass state tax increases are the low approval ratings of state elected officials and high levels of distrust in government.’

Since 2009, more than 7 in 10 Californians in Public Policy Institute surveys have said they trust state government only some of the time or never. Only 1 in 4 approved of the Legislature. Brown’s approval rating stands at 42%, while 28% said they did not have an opinion yet and the remaining 30% disapproved of the governor’s performance.


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—Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown gives a speech in San Francisco in June. Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan /Getty Images