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Jerry Brown’s tax initiative rivals not backing down

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Despite warnings from Gov. Jerry Brown that too many tax initiatives on the November ballot could cause voters to reject all of them -- including his own -- proponents of two efforts to raise revenue from California’s taxpayers are not backing down.

There are a plethora of possible tax-related measures steaming toward the ballot, but the two that have grabbed the most attention in Sacramento are an income tax hike by wealthy Los Angeles attorney Molly Munger and a millionaire’s tax sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers.

Both measures, like Brown’s proposed combination of a temporary half-cent sales tax hike and higher levies on wealthy filers, would be used to fund education.

They are all only in their preliminary stages, gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot. That takes money.

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In reports filed Tuesday, it was clear that the tax hikes’ main backers aren’t backing down. Munger has donated a total of $800,000 of her own money toward her initiative committee. And the teachers federation on Jan. 27 gave $500,000 to the millionaire’s tax committee, Educators and Working Families To Restore California.

The California Federation of Teachers’ donation came just before the state’s largest teacher’s union, the California Teachers Assn., endorsed Brown’s initiative this weekend. It is expected to become a major backer of the governor’s effort.

Munger and the teachers federation seemed to be the only significant donors to their respective causes so far. Brown has been raising money since December to fund his drive.

He reported raising nearly $2 million from a variety of traditional Sacramento power players, from Native American tribes to unions to Occidental Petroleum.

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-Nicholas Riccardi


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