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Competing Tax Initiatives Tops on Residents' Minds at League of Women Voters Monday Event

Cupertino-Sunnyvale League of Women Voters educates residents about 11 propositions on November ballot.

Over 40 people met at the Cupertino Community Hall Monday night to learn about the 11 propositions that will appear on the election ballot this November.

"I have sketchy ideas, but not solid information yet," said Cupertino resident Ann Stevenson, explaining why she attended the event hosted by the Cupertino-Sunnyvale League of Women Voters.

Stevenson and fellow Cupertino resident Lola Kashyup gave the same response when asked about what propositions they wanted to learn about.

"I'm trying to sort out the contrast between (Props) 30 and 38," said Kashyup, referring to the competing tax initiatives backed by Governor Jerry Brown and Molly Munger, respectively.

The event was led by Susan Hough, vice president of voter education with the Cupertino-Sunnyvale League.

Hough's presentation eschewed numerical order, instead starting off with Props 30 and 38.

"I'm going to do the hairiest ones first while you're still awake," joked Hough.

According to Hough, Prop 30 will raise an estimated $6 billion annually by increasing sales tax for four years and increasing the tax rate for high-income earners for seven years.

Prop 38 would raise an estimated $10 billion annually by raising the income-tax of most Californians and would be in effect for 12 years, Hough said.

And though both raise revenue, $6 billion in "trigger cuts" to education would go into effect if Prop 30 fails or receives less votes than Prop 38.

Hough cautioned the audience that estimates of revenue are just that, estimates.

"Income tax on high income earners is very volatile," she told the audience.

Residents were particularly confused about what would happen if both propositions pass with majority votes.

Hough explained that the proposition with the most votes would see its tax increases go into effect, while the other's would not.

Hough moved on to the remaining nine propositions, including Prop 39, which would standardize the corporate tax rate of businesses that operate in multiple states.

After hearing that half the revenue raised by this initiative would be dedicated to a clean energy job creation fund, Cupertino resident Ted Schenk spoke out.

"It seems like all these propositions are raising money and then spending (it) on something else," he said. "How are we supposed to balance the budget?"

Other initiatives discussed included: Prop 34, which would replace the death penalty with life without parole; Prop 35, recently endorsed by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, which, among other things, would expand the definition of "human trafficking" to include distribution of obscene materials depicting a minor; and Prop 37, which would require genetically engineered food sold in stores to be labeled.

For more information on the initiatives, visit:

www.ca.lwv.org

www.smartvoter.org

www.easyvoterguide.org

www.votersedge.org

www.cavotes.org

Frank Geefay October 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
It appears that those who are interested in keeping our educational system afloat in the short run must choose between Prop 30 or Prop 38, not both as I had originally thought. This makes it more difficult because I like elements of both. However Prop 30 includes community colleges and state colleges and universities which I believe to be almost as essential as k12. I feel that we cannot just give up on higher education. Pro 38 does guarantee more money for k12 but does nothing for higher education. I am familiar with the argument against both, that we should first cut out the fat from education before investing any more into it. But the unfortunate fact is that already financially strapped schools are cutting back on essential teacher staffing and programs and raising tuitions for higher learning that are already reducing the quality of education in our state and making higher education unreachable for many. California is already 47 ranked in per student funding so in spite of our fat we are far leaner than most states. Further cuts in education if neither 30 nor 38 are passed will truly place us at 50th out of 50. It will make higher education so expensive that we might as well close our community colleges and state colleges and universities. That would mean going out of state or to private universities for higher education. Is this really what we want? Let's stop reducing the quality of education and raising tuition first with Prop 30 then control expenses.
Gary E. Jones October 10, 2012 at 08:44 PM
It's complicated Frank. I know so many who are voting No on both. Espically now that the Mungers' have come out against Prop 30. This has done nothing to help, only confuse. When confused many will pull back and take a No position on increasing taxes they don't understand. This in the shadow of what many also believe to be a government failure to make the proper assumptions in determining Defined Benefit Plans the public sector gave up decades ago only leads to resentment and distrust of government's ability to spend wisely. Many no longer know who to trust; so, they dig in deeper and take more conservative positions. Driving by all the schools in our area with amazing new sports facilities and all the construction at De Anza College doesn't help either. Many do not realize they voted Yes to bonds that are paying for these improvements. I hear the most outragous things from some intellegent people on these improvements. Go figure!

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