Petition drive for oil tax falls short; organizers will try again

Oil pumps operate near Lost Hills, Calif. An initiative drive to create an oil tax in California fell short this week.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
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SACRAMENTO -- A petition drive to qualify an initiative creating an oil extraction tax to raise $1 billion for schools missed a deadline this week, but organizers say they will try again.

The initiative, titled the California Modernization and Economic Development Act, began gathering signatures in April and did not have enough by the deadline on Tuesday.

Organizers declined to say how many signatures they collected, but said they spent much of the time recruiting students to circulate the petitions and are confident they can get the 505,000 signatures needed to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot.


“After a lot of hard work, we have built a signature gathering coalition for fall and winter that will be ready to activate and qualify this initiative come November,” said Aaron Thule, grass-roots coordinator for the campaign.

Californians for Responsible Economic Development, the student-led group that drafted the initiative, said it is making changes to the proposal.

The new measure will stull tax oil pumped from the ground in California to raise more money for education and energy affordability programs, organizers said.

One change: The ballot measure will feature a sliding scale tax of 2% to 8% aimed at protecting small business owners and jobs.

The coalition includes the University of California Student Assn., and student groups at San Francisco State University, Sonoma State University, Cal State Bakersfield and several community colleges.



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