Poll: Jerry Brown’s tax can pass, but not with rivals on ballot [Updated}


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Gov. Jerry Brown’s political aides on Wednesday continued a public campaign to convince rival tax proponents to back off, releasing a poll summary that showed that none of three proposed ballot measures will pass if they’re all before voters in November.

Both Brown’s temporary tax hike -- a half-cent rise in the sales tax coupled with increased levies on higher earners -- and a proposed tax increase on millionaires sponsored by some unions score more than 50% on the poll. Brown’s measure is at 53% while the millionaire’s tax polls at 55%, according to a statement from Sacramento-based pollster Jim Moore.


The third proposed tax hike, an across-the-board income tax hike to fund public education pushed by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, lags with only 31% support.

But if all three appear on the ballot, the release states, none cross the 50% threshold. Brown’s wins 43% support, the millionaire’s tax 42% and the income tax 17%.

The survey of 500 registered California voters has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. ‘If all three are on the ballot, it’s a circular firing squad, and all of them will lose and the kids lose,’ said Steve Glazer, Brown’s top political aide.

Petitioners are gathering signatures to place all three hikes on the November ballot. Glazer has been pushing for proponents of the other two to drop their effort before the ballot is finalized in the coming months.

The competing measures have contended that their internal polling shows that the crowded ballot would not doom their proposals. A spokeswoman for Munger did not immediately return a call for comment. Nor did the California Federation of Teachers, a prime backer of the millionaire’s tax.

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. Feb. 22: The rival tax campaigns issued defiant statements Wednesday afternoon. The campaign for the millionaire’s tax noted its measure polled highest even in the governor’s own survey; Munger’s campaign derided Brown’s poll as ‘an advocacy poll’ and called its proposal ‘the one true education initiative.’]



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-- Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento