A “tax-the-rich” ballot initiative that would restore higher tax brackets for California’s wealthiest people was approved Thursday for the Nov. 5 ballot.
About 169,000 Californians--1.2% of all California taxpayers--earn enough to be affected by the higher brackets.
The measure is the 11th initiative to qualify for the ballot, according to the secretary of state’s office.
It also would shift money back to cities, counties and special districts--including libraries--that lost funds to the state during the recession.
The initiative is sponsored by Lenny Goldberg and Roy Ulrich of the California Tax Reform Assn., a group that backs closing tax loopholes that favor the wealthy.
In 1991, the Legislature and Gov. Pete Wilson approved boosting the highest income tax brackets for five years from 9.3% to 10% and 11%, depending on income.
The 10% level applies to couples with more than $225,000 a year in taxable income; the 11% rate applies to couples earning $450,000 in taxable income. The threshold for single filers is about $112,000 and $225,000, respectively.
The higher brackets expired Jan. 1. They brought about $905 million to $1 billion annually into state coffers.
Under the initiative, that additional money would be shifted to local governments, allowing them to recoup about 40% of the funding they lost in the recession-era budgets, Goldberg said.
“Everybody else is paying increased taxes, increased fees, increased assessments. Why should the wealthy be the only ones who get a tax break?” Goldberg said.